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David Poland

By David Poland

"Fever Pitch Is The Hit Comedy Of The Season"

I just heard that tag on a spot on the Yankee/Red Sox game.
How can it be the hit anything if it hasn’t opened yet?
Another question… does anyone who isn’t a fan of the book know what The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is all about? Why won’t Disney tell us?
Last one… how did Sydney Pollack end up with “A Sydney Pollack Film” credit in a virtually invisible gray stuck inconspicuously between very dark and larger lettering for Kidman and Penn in the outdoor for The Interpreter? It’s almost like when a studio makes the name of the quote whore in a TV ad so small that no one can read it. But shouldn’t they be proud of Mr. Pollack, one of the top commercial, movie star diretors of this era?

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67 Responses to “"Fever Pitch Is The Hit Comedy Of The Season"”

  1. teambanzai says:

    First off it drives me crazy when ever they claim the “__________ hit of ________ !” Mostly because it is most often mentioned with a rather unremarkable film. It’s very similar to when your comedy opens in fourth place but the three films in front of it are drama or action so they think it’s okay to put “THE NUMBER 1 COMEDY IN THE COUNTRY!”
    As for Hitchikers I’ve read the books three times and couldn’t explain it well enough to interest someone that hasn’t into reading it. When I’ve tried they always end up looking at me like a crazy person.

  2. bicycle bob says:

    jimmy fallon will never been in the hit of anything. hes christ kattan with a worse haircut

  3. Stella's Boy says:

    The only person I like less than Jimmy Fallon is Drew Barrymore. Like fingernails on a chalkboard. I know she is adored by many, but I can’t stand her. The thought of them in a generic rom com together makes me shudder in fear.

  4. Joe Straat says:

    “But shouldn’t they be proud of Mr. Pollack, one of the top commercial, movie star diretors of this era?”
    Could you give a time frame on “This era?” Because to me, the films he’s made in “This Era” are The Interpreter, Random Hearts (Which was flop, if I remember correctly), Sabrina (Which underperformed), The Firm (a good movie and a hit, but not really a classic), and Havana (which I haven’t seen, and haven’t heard anything about, honestly). I consider this era cut-off around 1989 or so when digital effects started hitting the mainstream. Somewhere around Total Recall. But, we each have our personal measuring sticks, I suppose.

  5. Mark says:

    What was the last good movie from Pollack? Tootsie?

  6. don says:

    I’m glad someone else finally verbalised the claim to the the #1 anything. It’s the easiest, lamest and most annoying media tagline ever. Does it even work??
    Speaking of Drew…I saw a GREAT film this past weekend. “My Date With Drew.” Check out the website…pretty cool premise. I thought the film would be gimmicky, but it really wasn’t.

  7. Martin says:

    Maybe Disney isn’t telling us what Hitchhiker’s about because… it’s not about anything?

  8. Eric says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing about the Hitchhiker advertising. It amplifies my fears about the movie– the book itself is so completely averse to typical film storytelling, I don’t see how it can be translated without huge infusions of new (and likely less funny) material.
    Aside from the chronological jumble that is the plot, all the really funny jokes are non-visual asides. It doesn’t translate clearly to a literal, visual medium like film.
    Consider why the best adaptations are so often of crime novels: an intricate plot translates well to a movie screen. The textures and literary constructs that make a “work of literature” special are much harder to re-create. And while I don’t think HHGTTG is literature, exactly, much of the same applies.
    I do have some degree of faith in Martin Freeman, though. That’s perfect casting, right there.

  9. lazarus says:

    I’m not worried about Hitchhikers’ quality, but David’s right in that they’re not telling casual viewers ANYTHING. Here’s a tip, Disney: Galaxy Quest BOMBED, and that was with a still-popular Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. This film has NO names in it, and looks even weirder. The trailer making fun of trailers was amusing, but is it going to put asses in the seats?
    If I hadn’t read the book, all I would know about this film is that the Earth gets destroyed and there’s some aliens. That’s it. And it’s supposed to be a comedy. Unfortunately, people are going to require more than that to go see it.
    Unless the reviews are across the board stellar, this is going to have a really tough time at the box office. And then there won’t be any Restaurant at the End of the Universe sequel, which would be quite sad. Because there is definitely good talent here.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    Oh, wait! I get it: A romantic comedy about BAEBALL is the HIT comedy. Ha,ha! And I bet the Farrelly Brothers SWING FOR THE FENCES and SCORE with a MAJOR LEAGUE smash! You’ll ROOT, ROOT, ROOT for the ALL-STAR TEAM of Jimmy and Drew. And…
    I’m sorry. It’s all the fault of the pain medication. I’ll go lie down now.

  11. Life&DeathBrigade says:

    For some reason, I have a feeling that the HHG will
    do fine at the box office. It should win the weekend
    because movies with these confusing ad campaigns
    have paid off in the past. This movie’s financial
    success after the weekend will have to come through
    word of mouth. If that works, than this film will
    do just fine. Even if the ad campaign likes to
    leave ambigious what’s actually happening in the
    This worked for X-Men. Just have some faith in
    the American moviegoing public being confused
    enough to have to see this flick to find out
    what’s going on.

  12. KamikazeCamel says:

    I reckon Hitchhiker’s will do fine. I predict around a $200mil total, maybe a bit less because it’s only April. People know about the books – whether they’ve read them or not. Case in point, me.
    And for The Interpreter they should just say “From the Academy Award winning director, Sydney Pollack. Starring Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Co-starring Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener. Executively Produced by Academy Award winner Anthony Minghella. Scored by a six-time Academy Award nominee. Edited by a three-time Academy Award nominee. Photographed by an Academy Award nominee.”
    …seriously! Whoa.

  13. lazarus says:

    200 million? Are you nuts? I hope you’re talking worldwide, although I don’t see this doing much business outside the U.K., let alone Europe.
    If the original X-Men (which someone mentioned above) didn’t make $200 mil, no way this one will.
    And the difference between this and X-Men is that the latter was an action film. A comic book action film that had a GREAT trailer. People wanted to go see Wolverine. This doesn’t even have 1/3 the coolness factor going for it.
    I’m going out on a limb here and saying this film doesn’t even crack $50 domestic. David?

  14. L&DB says:

    Laz, no one outside of a Wizard reader and comic
    fans, knew of Wolverine back in 2000. Now more
    people outside of those two audiences do. People
    might not know Ford Prefect now, but they should
    in a couple of weeks. What does not seem cool
    about hanging out with a drunken President of
    the Galaxy, Allan Rickman voiced android, and tooling
    around the galaxy? How does that not seem cool?
    Did you miss the last 50 plus years of filmmaking
    dealing with space travel?
    This film should, make at least 125 to 150 in the US.
    Overseas, it should equal that much. These are not
    some disliked novels. These books are loved, and
    the fans of this book will see this film. Again;
    if this moviegoing public can open flicks like
    Boogeyman, White Noise, and every other trashy
    genre film to Number 1. HHG should be a cakewalk.
    If not; were doomed.

  15. bicycle bob says:

    imagine the line of people waiting to see hitchhikers. geeks r us

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    I caught the HGG trailer before Sin City. I’m sorry, but I had zero desire to see it before I saw the trailer and I have even less now. Just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Oh, I have never read a comic book in my life and I still knew who Wolverine was in 2000.

  17. jesse says:

    lazarus, Galaxy Quest actually didn’t “BOMB” — it made 70 mil or thereabouts. And, if I recall correctly, that was after a pretty paltry first weekend. I’m not sure if it cleared $10 million in the first frame, but it stuck around throughout January — which means it was a word-of-mouth HIT, if a minor one. So I don’t think it means much of anything for Hithchhiker’s Guide.
    Sci-fi fans and other assorted nerds like me will give HHG a decent first weekend. But I think the analogous movie here is something like Hellboy or Constantine — it’s a source beloved by a passionate but relatively small number of people (though the Hithchhiker books have had more time to build a following), that also might confuse anyone who hasn’t heard of it before. (I’m also expecting the movie version to be at least decent, in keeping with the fact that I enjyoed both Hellboy and Constantine). As such, I’m guessing it’ll make in the $60-80 million range.

  18. says:
  19. Stella's Boy says:

    Joe, I think we have already reached that point. Another example: I Heart Huckabee’s made more in its first week of DVD/video release than it did during its entire theatrical run. I’m sure we could go back and forth forever with examples of this.

  20. Terence D says:

    The rental market and buying market is becoming bigger than the actual wide release. Especially for smaller films.

  21. bicycle bob says:

    how hard is it to beat the money that hucakbees made? sell 25 dvd’s??

  22. lazarus says:

    Ok, I stand corrected on Galaxy Quest’s tally. But going back to my previous post, Tim Allen was a good draw back then. And the studio gave it the time to make that money. We all know they certainly don’t have that kind of patience anymore. And while Galaxy Quest was a great film, it was only successful because of word of mouth.
    Hitchhikers may be too British to appeal to a wide-enough American audience. In fact, if it does justice to the source material it WILL be too British. But you have no names, a story that isn’t clear at all from the trailers, and sci-fi comedy. That is not the recipe for success.
    I hope I’m wrong and the predictions of over $100 mil are correct. I’d love to see a sequel.
    And I still disagree with your assessment of X-Men, L&DB. Wolverine may not have been a household name, but people immediately liked him in the trailers. Hugh Jackman exudes cool, even in 3 second bites. And the built in fan base was bigger than it is for this. People don’t read, and this book is over 25 years old. It’s a cult classic. That’s like saying a Kurt Vonnegut book is going to put people in the theatres.

  23. Geoff says:

    When predicting the box office for Hitchhiker, there is one thing that you guys are forgetting. It’s opening against the XXX sequel, which is sure to dominate that weekend, probably doing over $30 mil. I would gather that Disney would be quite pleased to see a $15 mill opening and probably a final domestic gross at between $50 and $60 mil. There is no doubt that this film will make its profit from DVD sales and UK grosses.
    Comparing its appeal to X Men just does not work. That was a brand name comic book, like Batman or Superman.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    Try over 4 million bob. But hey, I know numbers hurt your brain.

  25. L&DB says:

    Yeah but Hitchhikers has some sort of brand name
    in it’s medium as well. If it did not, then no
    one would have made a fuss when Douglas Adams
    passed way too soon. These books matter to a lot
    of people. Just casting them aside really irks
    me because no one seems to want to give a books
    fan base any props outside of Harry freakin Potter.
    Have some faith in a books fan base people.
    Next we have the “too british” comment. Which
    totally seems to ignore the VERY AMERICAN LOVE
    for something completely different.” Sorry. That
    just do not play. You want to downplay my X-Men
    comment. Fine. Go right ahead. However laz, your
    statement about the flick failing because it’s
    “too british” just does not match the reality of
    the culture of the US. XXX opening worth a damn
    will be shocking. Especially if the flick does
    not have an R (it’s Rev; mesa thinks they loves
    the PG-13!). IF not, then HHGTTG should have some
    competition. Of course all the cool kids will
    go see the flick with Mos Def. Just do not tell
    me Disney would be happy for a 60 million dollar
    gross for this film. They are not Warners. Im
    sure they like the overseas appeal of this film.
    Im just not convinced they want this flick to pull
    a Troy.
    And Stella, go into more detail. If you could.
    About the reasons HHGTTG does not appeal to you.
    Never saw Space Camp as a kid or something?
    Last on this list; Laydon they should take into
    some sort of consideration DVD receipts. When they
    are labelling a film a failure or not. Of course
    THEY are not exactly the business of being far
    and accurate. Due in large part it seems their
    own biases getting in the way. There would probably
    have not been a Bourne Supremacy without that DVD
    selling and renting like mad. Why the industry wants
    to rush a new media all of a sudden. When this
    one keeps making them money hand over fist.
    Remains confusing because DVDs are not the Betamax.

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    I don’t think it looks bad or stupid. Hard to explain I guess. The trailer just does nothing for me. I’m not much of a sci-fi fan in general.

  27. bicycle bob says:

    the only thing that does it for little stella is fahrenheit 9-11 type flicks. don’t worry. ur hero mikey moore will come out with a new falsified docu soon, buddy.

  28. Mr. Blobby says:

    XXX will open stronger than GUIDE for sure, it’s a much more convential looking action movie and fits in with what people are used to. I’m guestimating high twenties for XXX and mid to high teens for GUIDE.

  29. Mark says:

    I wouldn’t be too sure of XXX opening hire than Guide. Don’t underestimate the fan boy quality in opening movies. And if it is good? Forget it.

  30. Martin says:

    The studio already knows the box office that Hitchhiker’s will do, within $10-20 mill or so. Since I don’t have their numbers, I’ll have to guesstimate about $80, with a sweet $23 or so opening and then a decent hold for a few weeks. It doesn’t have the stars, the marketing, or the fanbase to get into the hundred million club, but it will carve out it’s niche audience quite nicely. Galaxy Quest numbers, plus a little more. Then it will get a theatrical, or at least a direct to video sequel or two.

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    Remember a while back when I asked for suggestions in compiling a list of the 50 most influential movies of the past 25 years? Well, consider this possibility: “Eddie and the Cruisers” (1983). And before you start yelling rude commnets at your computer screen, consider this: Unless I’m forgetting another title, “Eddie” was the first film to be deemed worthy of a sequel not because of its theatrical b.o. (which was underwhelming), but because of its immense popularity on home video.

  32. KamikazeCamel says:

    People got burned by the first xXx and I know a lot won’t be going this time.

  33. Geoff says:

    Joe, you make a good point about Eddie and the Cruisers. Although, I think the popularity was more built on its constant airings on HBO. Infact, it was not until the movie became a fixture on HBO that the song from the movie, “On the Dark Side,” became a Top 10 pop hit. Still doesn’t make it any less of a pioneering film, though.
    People realy underestimate the power of cable. I know that most of the Bond films were hits, in theaters, but I am convinced that the franchise would not be as big a phenomenon with younger filmgoers, if not for the marathon airings on cable, especially those ones on TBS that they would run twice a year, a few years back.

  34. bicycle bob says:

    i may be wrong, not likely, but when did ice cube become box office? xxx better be a good movie cause he is not bringing in people.

  35. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    Ice Cube is not bringing in people? How about $80 million for the unwatchable ARE WE THERE YET? Once again, B-Bob proves he’s as ignorant as he is nasty.

  36. David Poland says:

    Eddie & The Cruisers II = $536,508

  37. Joe Leydon says:

    Dave: That much? I would have guessed “Eddie II” made even less. Hey, I didn’t say “Eddie I” spawned a SUCCESSFUL sequel. I just said it spawned a sequel, period. (Nowadays, it would more likely be a direct-to-video sequel.) And Geoff, you’re right: Cable also had a lot to do with it, too.

  38. bicycle bob says:

    obviously its watchable if ur seeing it, champ.
    torque, ghost of mars, three kings
    all huge blockbuster action films right??? what makes u think he can carry an action franchise? stay with me, lost skell of reason

  39. Mark says:

    Ice Cube is a sell to a niche audience. Black, comedies. Action films is a whole different ballgame.

  40. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    Oh, now you’re qualifying your earlier statement? You said he was box office; you didn’t specify genre. But very well, I’ll play along. TORQUE and GHOSTS OF MARS were low-budget throwaways tossed out in bad playtime with minimal marketing to fill out release schedules. THREE KINGS was sold as an edgy war satire, with Clooney and Wahlberg getting all the ink. XXX2 is his first big-budget actioner, and as a sequel of sorts, already has a built-in awareness. I’m betting it’s gonna do 80 without breaking a sweat.

  41. Lota says:

    Jesus. Must only be old folks who think the ‘Cube can’t make money for a movie. Plenty of white, hispanic and multicolored people have seen Ice Cube’s many and varied movies all the way back to Boyz in the hood, where he was a such a natural actor.
    Maybe urban niche is the new mainstream. He pulled in 18M on a bad-weather weekend for a relatively ho hum of a story (Are we there yet). People went to see HIM. He’s one of the few music people crossed over to movies who can actually act.
    xXx is not my kind of story, but I would still go see it becasue I like Ice Cube. If Cube keeps the weight off he’ll be in more ‘mainstream’ movies including Action. He is box office, and he is a producer who is well in the black (no pun intended).

  42. Terence D says:

    Betting XXX will do 80 million is no real stretch. How about it beats the first one? Thats a much better bet. I think it will have a hard time getting over 100 million.

  43. bicycle bob says:

    theres a better chance of fever pitch hitting 100 than an ice cube action flick. have u people seen torque???

  44. hatchling says:

    My local critic likes Fever Pitch. Since I always seem to disagree with him, well…
    Besides, I saw the original and hate remakes on principle.

  45. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    I said it would do 80 without breaking a sweat. That doesn’t mean it will top out there. I’d say 100 is a real possibility.

  46. bicycle bob says:

    i think it will limp to 80. hitchhiker will pass it.

  47. Terence D says:

    There is nothing about XXX that makes me want to see it.

  48. Mark says:

    For everything said about him, the first one was really all about Vin Diesel. Ice Cube is notthe action guy he is.

  49. Stella's Boy says:

    XXX is one of the worst movies ever made, and the sequel looks even worse.

  50. bicycle bob says:

    u think ice cube can read a script?

  51. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    (jaw drops at the staggering racism of b-bob’s comment)

  52. Terence D says:

    After his recent film choices, the question is posed. How does he pick his movies if hes not reading these scripts? Do you think he read Torque and decided this was a great role and a great movie? Does he pick roles based on the perks or his trailer?

  53. Stella's Boy says:

    What, Ice Cube is the only star to make bad movies? So every star who has ever made a few bad movies can’t read? Give me a break. Say what you want about the quality of the man’s movies (he’s far from being one of my favorite actors), he’s not an idiot. Not even close. To say he can’t read because he’s made bad movies is ridiculously simplistic and moronic.

  54. Mark says:

    Lets be real here. I don’t think Bobby meant Ice Cube is illiterate. He is black so I may be wrong. Who knows. But its the process of actually reading the scripts thats is the problem here. Who sits down and reads Are We There Yet and decides this is my next project? Who reads the script to Ghost of Mars and decides this is my entry into the action game? Does anyone think we’re going to see a great film in the sequel to XXX?

  55. Stella's Boy says:

    “He is black so I may be wrong.” What exactly does that mean?

  56. Angelus says:

    I do not think Ice Cube can read. He can rap. Thats about it. And rappers cannot read.

  57. Stella's Boy says:

    I would be willing to bet some serious cash that Ice Cube is a hell of a lot more intelligent than you Angelus.

  58. bicycle bob says:

    stella i thought die hard libs like u are supposed to embrace the downtrodden and not well off. going back on ur roots, big guy?

  59. Stella's Boy says:

    I embrace anyone who displays at least minimal intelligence. In case you’re wondering, that does not include you.

  60. bicycle bob says:

    u libs are supposed to take everyone into ur loving arms. unless ur a hypocrite, stella. is that it?

  61. Stella's Boy says:

    What in the hell are you talking about bob? Start making some sense and I’ll try to answer your questions.

  62. Joe Leydon says:

    Stella: Haven’t you grasped the obvious by now? All Bob wants is a warm hug. Because, beneath all his gruff bluster, he’s just a little teddy bear.

  63. bicycle bob says:

    listen to joe, stella. he has L and DB in his warm arms as we speak. stella, i wouldn’t expect a die hard true blue lib like u to understand. u don’t get feelings.

  64. Terence D says:

    I don’t want to think about Stella’s Boy holding anyone in his arms. I come here for film talk. Not Stella’s Boy’s love life. Grossed out.

  65. bicycle bob says:

    stellas love life is a lot like andy dicks. that desperate too

  66. Mark says:

    That image just made me puke. Thanks Bobby.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon