MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Oscar Geeks?

Guess it’s time to start the wrestling…
Read… react.
The Top Seven Early Contenders
The Producers
Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World
Walk The Line
All The King’s Men

Be Sociable, Share!

205 Responses to “Oscar Geeks?”

  1. Joe E says:

    All The Kings Men, Jarhead, Memoirs of Geisha, Munich and…
    The Unfinished Life.
    C’mon there is always one “feel good”, makes you want to vomit, stab you in the leg film that gets nominated. There isn’t a movie on DP’s list I’m not dying to see.

  2. Stella's Boy says:

    How about Syriana and Good Night, And Good Luck?

  3. LesterFreed says:

    I’m looking forward to all of those films. We need some good films out here. It’s barren right now.

  4. Terence D says:

    Spielberg really is the best there is working today. The man can make two movies a year. Both totally different. Both huge movies. And he makes them enjoyable. I hope he takes the gloves off on Munich and really goes for it. I don’t like the fact that the Marxist Kushner is helping write it though.

  5. Stella's Boy says:

    Kushner is Marxist?

  6. Terence D says:

    That is what he tells people. He also bashed Israel. And I quote:
    Tony Kushner, the self-proclaimed Marxist playwright who was one of the signatories to a letter after 9/11 in opposition to any forward motion in the War on Terror that read, in part: “We too watched with shock the horrific events of 9/11 . . . But the mourning had barely begun, when the highest leaders of the land unleashed a spirit of revenge . . . The brutal repercussions have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine . . . We draw inspiration from the Israeli reservists who, at great personal risk, declare ‘there is a limit’ and refuse to serve in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.”
    And he is helping to write a movie about Israeli revenge and response? Not my first choice.

  7. lazarus says:

    No way Oliver Twist doesn’t get nominated. Ben Kingsley is perennial Oscar bait, it’s one of the most well-known classics, and Polanski just had his resurgance a couple years ago with The Pianist.
    And you know it won’t suck.

  8. Josh says:

    You can pencil in All The Kings Men right now.

  9. Josh says:

    Also watch out for The Constant Gardener. Love the director. Love the novel. And the advance word has been terrific.

  10. bicycle bob says:

    its good to do these real early but i’ll ask this. who had million dollar baby and sideways on best picture lists last yr at this time?

  11. Telemachos says:

    I thought Spielberg’s project was called “Vengeance”. Did the title get officially switched, or has nothing been announced? (IIRC, “Munich” was the working title before “Vengeance”.)

  12. jj says:

    STOP THE INSANITY DAVID! It’s not even August yet! Next thing you know, next year it will be 44 weeks to Oscar and we’ll be starting this at the end of May!

  13. bicycle bob says:

    its actually a yearly thing. the studios are campaigning the minute the telecast ends for the next yr. u can’t rest. and we like to read about it.

  14. Bruce says:

    Sam Mendes going to try to go 3 for 3. Very hard to pull off. Ask Tarantino about expectations.
    Kushner in person? He is a schmuck. Pompous ass. Heard him give a speech once. Really knows how not to charm an audience.

  15. Kernan says:

    The one two punch of Crash and Hustle and Flow are for Terrence Howard better than Collateral and Ray last year for Jamie Foxx. Yet I get the feeling he will be completely forgotten by January.

  16. Joe E says:

    All the Kings Men could fall off. Zaillian wrote and directed “A Civil Action” and you couldn’t have a more Oscar-baited film than that one. But it fizzled and didn’t get much notice. But this time it’s Penn leading the charge, not Travolta.
    I hope Good Night and Good Luck delivers. I’ve been a huge fan of David Stratharin for years, I’d like to see him get some well deserved props.

  17. patrick says:

    The Constant Gardner IS awesome. I still can’t beleive Fiennes doesn’t have an Oscar. Even Rachel Weisz was teriffic, and I can usually take her or leave her.

  18. Bruce says:

    No chance he gets anything for Crash. Hustle and Flow he has a real shot for a nomination.

  19. BluStealer says:

    I’ll go on record and say that the 2006 winner for Best Picture won’t be a film thats on that list at the top of the page.

  20. Joe E says:

    It’s a possibility that 50 cent’s movie (forgot title and too lazy to look up) might outshine Hustle and Flow and Crash. Or, all three can cancel each other out for the minority vote.
    I spoke with a guy that worked on the “Memoirs of a Geisha” set and he said there will be a huge uproar when that movie comes out. Why? because the three lead actress are Chinese, not Japanese, and the Japanese culture will be very upset. have no clue if that’ll hold water, but thought it was an interesting tidbit.

  21. Lota says:

    There’s already been huge uproars Joe E over a number of MOAG–and I am not saying I agree or disagree with any of these issues.
    –director, many people didn’t like the choice and wanted someone more familiar with Asian culture
    –Chinese actors in most speaking parts–big war on the internet fan sites over this. Two reasons for choosing the Chinese actors they did–their profiles are known world wide(i.e. expecting more at the box office)and, many people think that Japanese accents are very difficult to understand (when speaking english since it is not going to be a Japanese movie with English subtitles in the US).
    –choreography/costuming/hair–those who know Japanese geisha customs seem to think it’s all wrong (excpet the folks who worked on the movie
    I can’t wait to see it being a big fan of the book. I think I would have preferred Kimberly Peirce as director becasue she understands Japanese culture very well-she even has a college degree in it, and I think she wanted to do it at one point. I also would have preferred complete Japanese unknowns except for the Evil Geisha who’s name slips my memory becasue Gong Li is perfect. However, native Japanese speakers say her Japanese sucks.
    who knows. That movie is a big unknown. It could be another crouching Tiger type hit or ignored.

  22. Joe E says:

    The man I spoke with is Japanese and he seem offended by the choice of Chinese Actors and also said Japan refused to let them film in their country because of it.
    But how ignorant are most Americans about Asian culture, even smart Americans? Very. Will any of this be that big of a deal? Probably not.

  23. BluStealer says:

    It is sad to say but I don’t think too many people care if the Chinese and Japanese fight over roles in an Asian movie. It is like casting Al Pacino as a Cuban in Scarface. That’s what actors do. They act.

  24. Terence D says:

    I really didn’t like the Memoirs of a Geisha book. The movie holds no appeal to me either. It can win awards but those things don’t really matter to my paying for movie needs.

  25. Bruce says:

    You can’t deny the books following and you can’t deny the Oscar bait that it is.

  26. Terence D says:

    I can see it getting some good Oscar buzz but I’m not adding it to my must see list. Out of that seven I’ll probably see 5 of them for sure. Don’t know about Walk the Line and Geishas. I’ll have to be blown away by reviews, word of mouth and the trailers. But you never know.

  27. Josh says:

    I don’t know about Reese W starring in an Oscar caliber film.
    James Mangold directing? He’s not Spielberg.

  28. bicycle bob says:

    james mangold doesn’t scream oscar nominee to me. I mean he directed heavy. uggh.

  29. Terence D says:

    Have never been a big Johnny Cash fan. Didn’t see it.

  30. BluStealer says:

    Why can’t Reese Witherspoon be in an Oscar film? I think she should have been nominated for Legally Blonde. Seriously.
    What female was better that year? Who else could have played that role? And Election? She was fantastic in.

  31. Bruce says:

    She was perfect in Election. They even made Chris Klein look good though.

  32. Stella's Boy says:

    Mangold also directed the dreadful Kate & Leopold. Truly awful movie.

  33. bicycle bob says:

    i could care less that they use chinese actors for a japanese film. obviously the filmmakers thought this thru and it seems ok. Whos really gonna care?

  34. Josh says:

    Seriously DP how does a James Mangold directed film make a top 7 Oscar list?

  35. LesterFreed says:

    Why even have T Malick on the list? What has he done in the past 30 years to warrant inclusion? He just seems to be a great waste of talent.

  36. glenn whipp says:

    Josh: The same way a Taylor Hackford film got nominated last year.

  37. Josh says:

    I guess stranger things have happend.

  38. Paul V says:

    I find it intersting he has Hunt but not Ed for supporting actor for History of Vilonce.

  39. bicycle bob says:

    kate and leopold. The pitts.

  40. Sanchez says:

    Why didn’t The History of Violence makes this top 7 listing?

  41. jeffmcm says:

    So Lester, does that mean you liked Badlands but didn’t like Days of Heaven or Thin Red Line?

  42. Mark says:

    I think this year will be another surprise year. Not much on the slate thats guaranteed to be there. Even this list is hit or miss.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    Is there a link to last year’s 30 Weeks? I’d like to know if Million Dollar Baby was on Dave Poland’s radar in July 2004.

  44. Joe E says:

    Paul V, Why Hurt and not Harris?
    You’ll know why when you see the movie. And History of Violence might be my favorite movie of the year so far, but it ain’t real “Oscar Contender” (and I mean that in a good way). I’m very curious what the critical reaction to that film will be.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    I found last year’s 30 Weeks, and MDB isn’t on it anywhere, and the list of Oscar potentials is about 20 movies long.

  46. BluStealer says:

    No one even thought Million Dollar Baby was going to even released in 2004.

  47. Joe E says:

    How about Best VFX?
    Star Wars vs War of the Worlds vs King Kong.
    Now that’s a fight.

  48. Josh Massey says:

    “Crash” will definitely be nominated or Best Picture, with zero chance of winning. And if they nominated the shitfest that was “The Thin Red Line,” they’re definitely going to recognize “The New World.”

  49. Josh Massey says:

    Oh, and go ahead and pencil in – no, Sharpee in – Dakota Fanning’s nom for “War of the Worlds.”

  50. BluStealer says:

    Crash has ZERO chance to get a nomination.

  51. Jerri says:

    I guess Memoirs won’t do well in Japan then. It’s all about business – there are no known Japanese film actors on the world stage, but yeah, these Chinese actors (Zhang, Li and Yeoh) have high profiles at the top film festivals like Cannes.

  52. Angelus21 says:

    If there aren’t Five better films than Crash this year, the industry has more problems than I thought.

  53. Panda Bear says:

    The Japanese folks are going to explode! They couldn’t find any Japanese actors?

  54. Josh Massey says:

    I never said “Crash” was one of the five best films of the year – but the success story and theme almost guarantee it a nom… unless the rest of the year provides more Oscar-quality flicks than anticipated.

  55. Chester says:

    IMHO it’s going to be nearly impossible for “Memoirs of a Geisha” to evade the controversies discussed on this page. Remember what similar kinds of legitimacy issues did to mar the esteem of past sure-fire contenders like “The Color Purple,” “Mississippi Burning” and “The Hurricane.”
    On another note, I still have no idea why so many people continue to think “The Producers” should be on the list Dave posted above. I’ve seen the stage musical and think it’s a helluva lot of fun, but it’s still just a fluffy reworking of old material, and done by a first-time film director. I see no reason to be confident it will fare better with Oscar voters than last year’s “Phantom of the Opera.” OK, maybe if Mel Brooks goes out and appeals to the voters’ memories of Anne Bancroft…who had nothing to do with it.

  56. BluStealer says:

    It is guaranteed a nom unless they’re five better films this year? Astute analysis.

  57. joefitz84 says:

    Wasn’t this the same place that had Phantom of the Opera #1 on the list at this time last year?
    A lot can change in a few months. The movies actually open.

  58. jeffrey boam's doctor says:

    where’s the disease of the week pic or the one playing its disabled card? it aint a real race til the oscar stereotypes come out singing. and no offense dave but this thread is kinda reaching.

  59. Joe E says:

    It’s kind of liking talking about Presidential nominees in 2008. There is a field of candidates that exists, some seem better to win than others, but so much can happen between now and then that makes the guessing game kind of silly.

  60. Chester says:

    Nobody’s mentioned the omission of “Cinderella Man” from Dave’s list. I wouldn’t count it out just yet. Sure, it bombed at the box office in a really big way, but it’s exactly the kind of movie the Academy members traditionally throw their weight behind. I think a well-conceived Oscar campaign can still save it, at least as far as nominations are concerned.

  61. lindenen says:

    Re: Kimberley Peirce, it’s interesting that she wanted to direct MofaG. Afterall, what the hell happened to her? She vanished after Boys Don’t Cry.

  62. Mark says:

    Russel Crowe’s fight with the bellhop and the underperforming box office effectively knocked out Cinderella Man. No pun intended.

  63. Chester says:

    I have a gut feeling that the “All the King’s Men” remake is going to be received like the remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” last year: respectful reviews, middling box office, and nothing to brag about at Oscar time.

  64. Mark says:

    It all depends on what Steve Zaillian does with it. He can be overly long and doesn’t have a sense of pacing. But the cast is real good.

  65. Joe E says:

    Universal will do anything to please Grazer/Howard. And if they want a huge Oscar campaign spending spree, they’ll get one.
    But Universal will already be pushing seriously for Jarhead, Munich and King Kong.

  66. Chester says:

    Now that you mention it, Joe E, I wonder why Dave didn’t put “King Kong” on the list. Certainly seems as likely a contender as any at this point.

  67. Joe Leydon says:

    Thirty-one weeks until Oscar? Well, OK. But if Dave writes another one of those “Geez, I’m already bored with the Oscar race” columns 29 weeks from now, I may consider hiring some people to hurt him real bad.

  68. cullen says:

    Terrence Malick is a genius…can’t wait for THE NEW WORLD…also looking forward to the Colin Farrell/Salma Hayek ASK THE DUST, from Robert Towne…HISTORY OF VIOLENCE sounds amazing…JARHEAD, ALL THE KINGS MEN, and WALK THE LINE are all must-see’s for me as well…Phoenix looks fabulous already (he sounds just like Cash). And oh yeah, Spielberg…I’ll see his new one too. On paper, some good stuff to look forward too…

  69. Sanchez says:

    A genuis? The dude has directed 4 movies.
    In 40 years!

  70. cullen says:

    yep…4 movies in 40 years…and 3 of them were masterpieces…nobody makes films like Malick…go watch DAYS OF HEAVEN…simply stunning, thematically and visually…as was BADLANDS and THIN RED LINE…he makes poems that are films…and I for one love his style. Not for everyone to be sure, but for people who want to be challenged while watching a flick, Malick is the shit.

  71. Sanchez says:

    He’s prolific but I wouldn’t call those movies masterpieces. Shot very well. He couldn’t tell a story if you put a gun to his head.

  72. lazarus says:

    I wouldn’t call Alan Resnais a master storyteller either but that’s not what necessarily makes a great filmmaker. Jarmusch is different from Wong Kar-Wai is different from Spielberg is different from Fellini is different from Malick.
    Having all these techniques and styles is what makes film an interesting art form. They aren’t all supposed to be cut from the same cloth.
    Malick is still a genius of the moving image.

  73. Lota says:

    Leydon said: “if Dave writes another one of those “Geez, I’m already bored with the Oscar race” columns 29 weeks from now, I may consider hiring some people to hurt him real bad.”
    Just make sure they’re pretty and bring their own booze Joe.
    And to those above Diss-ing Terry:
    Malick “can’t tell a story”. That little buzz phrase around when they don;t like a movie. If you don’t like his movies fine, but saying he can’t tell a story lumps him in with our favorite current action directors of the day, and that is clearly unfair.
    Unlike most directors who have to struggle to make maybe one decent movie out of every 5 they film, Malick doesn’t have a pile of shit behind him. He also help launch/get notice for a number of young relative unknown actors, male and female who became big names for years simply becasue the performances he extracted from them (with Subtlety, no scenery chewing) were so notable.
    His stories aren;t obvious, connect the dots stories. he also can paint on a big canvas which very few directors can do these days, which adds to the anti-hero element in his stories that he excels at. The last great epic director in my opinion was David Lean. If Terry Malick can do his magic on the New World, we’ll have a long awaited sargent moving up to general.
    I hope the New World will be fantastic.
    Quality has nothing to do with quantity. I rather see a memorable movie once every five years than watch disappointment after disappointment from someone who has more capability than just about any director working today.
    [so don’t fuck it up Terry]

  74. Angelus21 says:

    Malick hasn’t worked enough to be called a genuis. Maybe if he didn’t do one movie every 8 years. Which is a sin if you have the talent. He is a waste of it.

  75. Lota says:

    Memoirs of a Geisha–
    There are famous Japanese actors, but the most famous ones are in Miike movies & other horror films and may be too typecast as Yakuza or “young thugs” male or female, or hookers or ghouls.
    I would have liked to see all Japanese cast for authenticity I guess, however, if they have to film it in English (Engrish as my Japanese pals say), Japanese actors would really have a hard time–many don;t speak English…at all.
    No Japanese is still is a cop out I guess. but for the American and EUropean audiences, and they hope to hit a broad audience I would assume since Golden’s book sold many millions in US and Canada, they are banking on the female leads to bring in people not familiar with the book. People who loved the book like me will see it anyway. I will know the difference if they are really dicking around with the dances and Geisha hair traditions etc, but I won’t care if the performances/story is at least in the same spirit. SO much of the story is internal/reserved, so I hope there won;t be too much overboard SIGNS and obvious feeding the audience of stupid signaling dialog.
    K Peirce is slated for 2 other projects, nothing is filming yet. One she had been working on a long while. I don;t know how/who determined who would be the Geisha script adapter or director, but I was disappointed that she didn;t get it/do it.

  76. Lota says:

    I can see you are not emotionally available for T Malick’s offerings and that’s ok Angelus, but I’d hardly call him a “waste” he’s producing stuff too and he didn’t go losing 20-50M bucks of someone else’s money over and over again on movies that made no impact (a dime a dozen these days).

  77. Joe Leydon says:

    Lota: Pains me to say this, but I don’t think many Americans can tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese people. Hell, I don’t think many can differentiate between Japan and China, period. As far as some are concerned, all of it — Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, etc. — is just one big Asialand. No kidding. A few years ago, I was in Dallas for the World Cup games. I brought my Korean-born son into a major sporting goods store,and asked the woman behind the counter if she had any KOREA caps. She said no, but she did have CHINA caps. “That’s the same thing, right?” she asked. No, I don’t think she was joking.

  78. Chester says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Japanese audiences may find it stereotypical and racist that Hollywood executives and their white American director would, especially in this day and age of globalistic sensitivities, hire a mostly Chinese cast of actors for the biggest Japan-based film ever, as if it makes no difference? Maybe they could have topped it off by casting Harvey Keitel as one of the Japanese male leads. Or Mickey Rooney.
    They should have offered Mel Gibson the chance to direct it. At least he would have insisted on an all-Japanese cast speaking their native language, maybe with subtitles. And would have reaped $200 million at the box office.

  79. Lota says:

    i agree Chester–but some weird things seemed to happen with that script/rights when it was floated around.

  80. Lota says:

    aww…and Joe, very sorry to hear what happened to your son. I think we should be a bit better educated than the Plebian Romans who didn’t have Discovery channel, Travel channel, really huge public libraries that us Plebs are allowed to use (and that great interlibrary loan for anything the two bit libraries don;t have). Plus school from age 5-17?
    I have all cultures in my family, and people say really dimwitted things to me it makes me wonder if people think it’s cool to be dopey/insensitive. My elderly relatives who hardly had any formal ed (one grandfather never went to school ever) knew so much about different things I can only come to the conclusion there’s a willful ignorance out there.

  81. Chester says:

    I haven’t read the “Geisha” book or the script. But this project certainly appears to have the makings of a lot of the controversy that attached to “The Color Purple” when it was released.

  82. jeffmcm says:

    Let’s wait and see this Mayan movie before we let Mel Gibson become Multicultural Man.
    Only in a very weak year will either Crash or Cinderella Man be nominated for Best Picture.
    And for Terrence Malick, whoever is perhaps right that he ‘can’t tell a story’. Did you ever think that maybe he doesn’t want to? People watch movies waayyy too literally.
    Sorry to bring up old threads.

  83. Lota says:

    TM can tell a story if people are watching with their eyes wide open. Unfortunately people are so spoon fed with leading dialog, a movie doesn;t have a life of its own anymore. Attention span is pretty short at the movies these days. Why the F else would people take cell calls during a movie.
    Even most comedies lately tell you when to laugh, then pause so you can laugh…then dialog/action continues.

  84. Panda Bear says:

    The Color Purple didn’t cast white people in the black roles though.

  85. Paul V says:

    Some early testing screen buzz for The Family Stone puts Sarah Jessica Parker at or slighty above McAdams for a possible supporting nom from the film for want it is worth.

  86. David Poland says:

    I promise that I WILL write Dave writes another one of those “Geez, I’m already bored with the Oscar race” columns before it’s all done.
    This is now… then is then. This is the start of the season and it’s all fresh and new. Toronto is the next landmark. Then it is nearly five months of daily upkeep.
    It’s kind of like threatening to be upset if sleeping with your wife, which was so fresh and alive at the start, gets a little boring after a while. There are good moments and bad moments when you are in a marathon. Sprints are easy.
    P.S. I trust my info on Family Stone a lot more than I do test screening reviews.

  87. David Poland says:

    MDB was scheduled for release in 2005… and I was the one who broke the news that it might be and then that it would be released in 2004.

  88. David Poland says:

    And… haven’t any of you heard about the lost scene from Color Purple with Spielberg as Uncle Remus… political correctness deprives us of yet another great moment in movie history!!!

  89. jeffmcm says:

    Dave, I didn’t mean to attack you for being blind to MDB…I just wanted to point out that there’s likely to be something similar this year that’s completely off the radar right now.

  90. Chester says:

    Jeff, you said, “Only in a very weak year will either Crash or Cinderella Man be nominated for Best Picture.” Well, I think we can all agree that this has been a weak year so far, and the outlook for the rest is uncertain at best.
    But I would probably disagree even in a stronger year. First, “Crash” is the kind of movie the Academy flips over. It’s this year’s “the little movie that could,” an unexpectedly leggy success that also carries an aura of topical importance (whether you or I personally buy into it or not).
    As for “Cinderella Man,” if Academy members can get past its box-office taint, they’ll see that it’s at least as good a movie as the same players’ “A Beautiful Mind.” Need I remind you how well that did on its Oscar night?

  91. bicycle bob says:

    don’t hold ur breath on cinderella man or crash. its not gonna happen

  92. Bruce says:

    Too many people are indifferent to Crash. And sice when has a movie like that been nominated? Not like it has a tour de force performance carrying it.
    Cinderella Man can blame the box office.

  93. KamikazeCamel says:

    Crash would’ve been a good bet if it were released in say October…
    And while I have a lot of things to say I won’t because a lot of people have either said them or they’ve argued about them but they’re all the way up towards the top. I just wanna say these things:
    1. Reese Witherspoon just seems right for a nomination. The popular actress that everyone can see has talent (see Election, The Man In The Moon and Legally Blonde) and finally has that role that will give her something the Academy can work with
    2. The truth of the Memoirs of a Geisha movie is that it will make more money in America with people like Zhang Ziyi, Gong Li, Ken Watanabe and Michelle Yeoh because nobody really knows/cares that they’re not Japanese. It’s sorta sad but true. And as much as that may sound racist, it’s just a fact.
    3. I am actually looking forward to a large amount of upcoming 2005 films. It looks very packed by exciting at the same time, with a nice mix of small, medium and large scale films
    4. I predicted it at the start of the year and I still am: Niki Caro will score a Best Director nomination – the third female in 11 years (i think that’s right)
    5. I still haven’t seen any of Malick’s movies bar Days of Heaven and I think that is THE most beautifully made movie I have ever seen. I saw that 2 years ago and just haven’t gotten around to The Thin Red Line but I anticipate The New World.
    6. My enthusiasm for The Constant Gardner has now grown more than just the “it’s directed by Fernando Mierelles” thing. Sounds great
    7. “Is there a link to last year’s 30 Weeks? I’d like to know if Million Dollar Baby was on Dave Poland’s radar in July 2004.”
    Jeff, probably not, but nobody’s saying that there won’t be one of those this year.
    Some people can’t let go of the past.

  94. Bruce says:

    Some people that paid to see Thin Red Line 5 yrs ago are still in the theatre waiting for it to be over.

  95. Stella's Boy says:

    Actually, I am out of the theater and I’ve seen The Thin Red Line quite a few times in the last five years.

  96. BluStealer says:

    You’ve only seen 25% of the movie. Ha.

  97. patrick says:

    This is a good list for this stuff being 6 months from now. There will be surprises. Two years ago at this time, Monster wasn’t on the radar at all, last year it was M$B…so we’ll see. I’m sort of amazed no one has brought up the possibiltiy of Felicity Huffman as a tranny in TransAmerica…it’s gonna have Harvey’s stamp on it and how can you ignore a Desperate Housewife going against type?

  98. Bruce says:

    The words “Over his head” are ringing in my eardrums right about now. Flying over. Thanks.

  99. Terence D says:

    Felicity Huffman ain’t exactly Terri Hatcher or Eva Longoria though. Now that would be more exciting and better casting. Huffman is known as the dumpy housewife.

  100. Nicol D says:

    I was desperately looking forward to Munich. I must say though that my enthusiasm was tempered when I found out Kushner was doing the re-write.
    Not only is he an acclaimed Marxist, this is also the same guy who said Pope John Paul II should have his skull bashed open with a baseball bat, about a decade ago if I recall correctly.
    This kind of guy on a poltically charged project of this nature? Problem is with Kushner, you know he was brought on to give the project a specific tilt. He can’t be neutral. Some names on a project just scream red flag to me. Tony Kushner is one of them.

  101. Panda Bear says:

    How could Spielberg let Kushner write this thing? It’s a sin. Like he’s the best person for the job? Come on.

  102. Paul V says:

    Hey Dave not saying you wrong about McAdams because her role is far more award friendly, just read how this person felt that Keaton, Parker, and Wilson were the cast standouts but the whole cast so strong it really does not matter.

  103. Joe E says:

    A guy at my office is also a part-time actor and has gone on the record that Tony Kushner is one of the greatest playwrights in history, and he’ll be studied fifty years from now the way Arthur Miller is today.
    Is he full of crap? Possibly. But Spielberg hired a guy who wrote “Angels in America”, a very human story, to add humanism to his Revenge movie. I don’t think he hired a Marxist to politicize it up.

  104. Terence D says:

    He could be the greatest writer ever. He is still not right for this job. But as long as the guy in your office likes him, its good.

  105. Stella's Boy says:

    How can you say he is not right for this job? Spielberg apparently believes that he is. Isn’t that enough?

  106. EDouglas says:

    I’m just shocked that a movie that has just *started* being filmed–Munich–is already considered an Oscar contender. Let’s not forget the sad case of two-time Oscar nominee Steven Soderbergh and the case of “Solaris”.

  107. Jeff says:

    Other movies worth noting that have a good chance. Curtis Hanson has two movies coming out this year, In Her Shoes and Lucky You. I don’t know much about Lucky but it has a script by Eric Roth and stars Eric Bana. In her Shoes has a great comercial script, if it does big business look for a few noms. Nicholas Cage has two movies coming out that have a good chance of being solid. Lord of War and The Weatherman. Both have great directors so I feel they have just as good shot as anything else. Theres also Prime with Meryl Street directed by Ben Younger. Don’t know much about it , but it has the same director as Boiler Room and that was decent enough. Also look for Dennis Quaid and Renee Ruso to get nominated for “Yours Mine and Ours” that trailer had Oscar written all over it.

  108. Lota says:

    Kushner IS a good writer, so what he’s a Marxist. Competence as a writer or anything else has little to do with Political party affiliations.
    if we care if someone is a conservative or liberal or marxist to the extent voiced on this blog, perhaps we are issuing in a new era of McCarthyism type thinking, which deprived Hollywood of talented people for quite a long time.
    Who gives a f*ck what anyone’s party affiliation is.
    Like actress Lee Grant:”She reprised the role in the film version(Detective Story), a performance that garnered her the Cannes Film Festival Citation for Best Actress as well as her first Academy Award Nomination. Immediately following her screen debut, however, Lee became a victim of the McCarthy blacklists; except for an occasional role, she did not work in film or television for an additional 10 years.”
    Her ‘crime’ was to married to someone who was touted as a Marxist. and I paraphrase something she said: ‘I was married to a MArxist, then I was married to a arch-conservative reactionary and neither one of them helped me with the housework’.
    get over it. unless a writer is breaking a law [i.e. hate crimes/violence etc] the only thing you guys are ‘convicting’ this guy of is a Thought Crime. I thought we’re way past 1984. Clearly not.

  109. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    “Am I the only one who thinks Japanese audiences may find it stereotypical and racist that Hollywood executives and their white American director would, especially in this day and age of globalistic sensitivities, hire a mostly Chinese cast of actors for the biggest Japan-based film ever, as if it makes no difference?”
    Funny, I don’t remember Thai people complaining when Chow Yun-Fat was cast in ANNA AND THE KING. (And at least he was Asian, unlike Yul Brynner and Rex Harrison.)

  110. LesterFreed says:

    Who wants a Marxist writing about Israeli revenge when he condemned the Israeli response to terror? You think he’s not going to write a big political message? Then you crazy.

  111. bicycle bob says:

    i care and i’m sure jews care who is writing this movie about a key moment in their history. especially when that said writer is on record bashing jews and how they deal with aggressors.

  112. Stella's Boy says:

    Again, if he is good enough for Spielberg, and if Spielberg wants him, I don’t think there’s reason to be concerned.

  113. Josh says:

    Maybe Spielberg is making the wrong move. That ever happen before or is he infallible? I don’t want you to bow down before him or anything.
    As a Jew I am dismayed that they have this guy helping out on this movie. It is too important for that.

  114. Stella's Boy says:

    Who is bowing down? Spielberg is far from being my favorite director, but I certainly respect him as a filmmaker. I think almost everyone does. And if he believes that Kushner is right for the project, then I’d say Spielberg should get the benefit of the doubt. I’d say he’s earned it.

  115. Josh says:

    I’d say you’re on your hands and knees for him. What is the obsession with Kushner? Have you ever seen or read anything he has written besides Angels in America? Then how would you know hes the best guy for the project? His personal views clearly make him unacceptable for it.

  116. Stella's Boy says:

    Unacceptable for you maybe. That’s your problem. I can separate the artist from the art. Where do you come up with this crap? I am not obsessed with Kushner or Spielberg. It doesn’t matter who I think is best for the job. It’s not my movie. It’s Spielberg’s, and he feels that Kushner is best for the job.

  117. Lota says:

    when did Steven Spielberg ever bow down to anyone?
    He made an excellent movie about the holocaust that appealed to many people of varying politics and cultures all around the globe, so why would you think he’d f*ck it up by choosing Kushner?
    It’s not like Spielberg’s hard up. he can work with whomever he wants.

  118. Josh says:

    Who said Stevie S ever bowed down? I’m saying this poster here is bowing down. Like Spielbergo never had a bad movie?
    Did Spielbergo got the hand of God and the infallibility to never make a subpar movie?

  119. BluStealer says:

    Kushner only did a rewrite on it. He didn’t write the main script. Thank God. Last thing they needed was controversy on this film.
    I’m joking. This film is all about controversy.

  120. Stella's Boy says:

    No one is bowing down to Spielberg here. Defending his right to choose whoever the hell he wants to write (or re-write) his movies is hardly bowing down to him.

  121. Josh says:

    In your words he can do no wrong and needs the latitude to be given his choices. That sounds like reverence to me.
    Hopefully his rewrite just deals with emotions and some character issues not anything to do with story. I would hate to see this fouled up.

  122. Stella's Boy says:

    Don’t put words in my mouth Josh. I did not say that Spielberg can do no wrong. You said that.

  123. Chester says:

    I think Spielberg has the right to choose whomever he wants on his projects … but then must take responsibility and be willing to answer for the end results as well. As a pro-Zionist Jew, I too am concerned about Kushner’s hands being all over this story. Kushner is on record as having a fervently anti-Israeli slant in his thinking and writing. For those who saw the otherwise excellent “Angels in America” on HBO, Kushner even threw in a brief, pointless pro-Palestinian tirade in its final moments. But, like I said, it’s Spielberg’s movie. Let’s just wait and see if Jews worldwide decide to take back the title of “righteous person” they bestowed on him after “Schindler’s List.”

  124. Joe E says:

    Gay people have played straight people. People who are divorced have played happily married husbands/wives. Very liberal Hollywood lunatics (Richard Dreyfuss) have played conservative politicians. Rene Zelwegger played a beloved British literary figure. these are movies, not documentaries
    And anyone who has seen Angels in America knows that Kushner has a lot invested in his Jewish heritage, and what it is like being Jewish in today’s society. I’ll be that is what attracted Spielberg initially. I’m excited about this one because I think this movie will be known as Spielberg’s “small, low budget” movie of the decade. You could argue that for Catch Me If You Can. But I think that is the case here. No real stars, no special effects. I’m sick of nice Spielberg, I want grizzly Spielberg.

  125. Bruce says:

    Gay people have played straight people? There is a guy who knows Hollywood. Thanks for the update considering 80% of actors play for that team.

  126. Josh says:

    No one puts words in your mouth “Stella’s Boy”. You do that fine by yourself. I’m just reading what you wrote and commenting on it. If you want people to think something different, than say it in your postings. That is where you have the opportunity to do it. Not after the fact when you don’t like be called to the carpet on it.
    Kushner is such a good screenwriter he has ZERO CREDITS to his name in film.

  127. Josh says:

    My fears over the fact that a Marxist who thinks Israel should back off and kowtow to its enemies is writing a movie about the Mossad and the Jewish response to the Munich disaster are very real. It’s the last thing Israel needs.

  128. bicycle bob says:

    richard dreyfuss played a conservative? oh yea. in the liberal fantasy land picture the american president. he played the boob foil who was the devil incarnate and the big bad republican. those liberals sure know how to write conservatives and bad guys. terrific casting.

  129. Joe E says:

    Dreyfuss also played a fictitious Karl Rove in “Silver City”.

  130. Chester says:

    Joe E, first of all, I don’t get the point of your first paragraph at all. What does actors playing against type have to do with a writer’s personal beliefs? Do you honestly believe any anti-Israeli writer is going to write a pro-Israeli script?
    Second, yes, Kushner may be proud to be Jewish, but that doesn’t mean he supports Israel. There’s an unavoidable minority of Jews who are outspoken pro-Palestinian activists, and Kushner is one of them. That doesn’t bode well for those of us who hoped that this major film, which deals with a monumental act of Arab terrorism against targeted innocent civilians, would be an endorsement of Israel’s right to exist.

  131. bicycle bob says:

    silver city. another middle of the road film not made by a flaming liberal right???

  132. Josh says:

    After reading a lot of what Kushner has written on Israel I am truly skeptical of why he was hired to even touch up this script. The guys views on Israel are well known. Unless that is the direction Spielberg is going with this.

  133. LesterFreed says:

    It would be a damn shame if this cool story was ruined by a script doctors personal views on Israel. Kushner doesn’t work that often. You think he takes this job and doesn’t put his personal views in there as a writer?

  134. Chester says:

    Call him a script doctor if you want, but Kushner is getting a full writing credit on this film. So his contribution to the script cannot be insubstantial.

  135. LesterFreed says:

    Then we’re all in trouble on this film. Has Spielberg made a comment on this? I’m sure he knew his background. Doesn’t seem like a move the great one would make. Weird.

  136. Stella's Boy says:

    I am saying it Josh, but you never seem to listen. I never said that Spielberg can do no wrong. You claim that I said that, but I never did.

  137. Chester says:

    It will be interesting to see how much heat gets blasted at Spielberg over this. But I don’t expect him to be getting the torching that Mel Gibson got for “Passion of the Christ.” Unfortunately, this is a Jewish topic where we can expect that liberals in the media will generally keep their mouths shut. I doubt Frank Rich (who absolutely made Kushner’s career when Rich was drama critic for the Times) will be running weekly columns about the anti-Israeli bent of this script (should that be the case), but we may hear quite a bit from Matt Drudge and Shawn Hannity.

  138. Stella's Boy says:

    I agree Chester. I’m sure Rich will keep his mouth shut.

  139. Josh says:

    Frank Rich is a hack. He’ll let this pass over like it never happend. The Liberal media will never take a shot another Jew even if he is in the wrong. They’re so scared to take shots. If Kushner were a Catholic he’d be raked over the coals by Frank Rich.

  140. jeffmcm says:

    Bruce, did you say 80% of actors are gay? Or am I misunderstanding your 8:29pm post.
    Spielberg is too smart to make a one-sided movie. Ralph Fiennes gave a complicated, nuanced performance in Schindler’s List that humanized the Nazis without excusing them for anything. I would hope he’s doing the same thing this time.

  141. Joe E says:

    The actor analogy, Chester, was about the discussion for Memoirs of Geisha and the “contraversey” of having a Chinese actor in Japanese role, not Kushner.

  142. David Poland says:

    I find this thread kind of surprising and thrilling… the idea that Kushner’s politics regarding Israel have been, so far, left out of this is really interesting.
    I believe that Spielberg can choose who he likes and Kushner is as hot a writer, particularly in NYC, as there is right now. But on a controversial film… just very, very provocative…

  143. Josh says:

    Why would he choose him to write this? There are millions of other great writers out there. Does he really need an anti Israeli?

  144. jeffmcm says:

    Now that’s interesting…on IMDB for this movie, there’s a discussion thread labeled “Anti-Israeli Movie” and every message has been deleted by the administrator.

  145. Mark says:

    Spielberg must have a screw loose to let Kushner write this. Unless he is taking an anti Israel approach to the movie. That will be a huge hit in the Arab world. Wouldn’t say much for his rep though.

  146. jeffmcm says:

    He’s one of three credited writers. Relax.

  147. Lota says:

    Despite what Kushner’s politics is as a person, he is doing a professional job for someone, Spielberg. I am sure the remit has been laid out to him on what the Big Picture is, and Kushner will be a professional about it.
    To make a judgement on either SPielberg or Kushner without seeing the product–you have no idea what he’s going to do so give it a rest. This attack here on Kushner is just as thoughtless as the one foisted on Mex less than 2 weeks ago when he said he didn;t care much for Schindler’s list! Before he had a chance to explain the part of the movie he didn’t like, a number of posters were accusing him of Jew hate talk and all sorts of nonsense. His dislike of the ending had nothing to do with Judaism and everything to do with Liam Neeson ‘crying’. But of course those 4 people didn’t apologize for unfairly covering him with slurs.
    There is such a thing as freedom of speech in this country–or is it suspended when discussing Israel/middle east or Jews and Arabs, Judiasm and Islam?
    I think people can slant their movies however they want as long as they are honest about it and admit to it, and the product isn’t defamatory or libelous.
    “Let’s just wait and see if Jews worldwide decide to take back the title of “righteous person” they bestowed on him after “Schindler’s List.”
    Chester, I would hope that no one would be so rash to do any such thing simply if an interpretation is not EXACTLY to their liking.
    I doubt SPielberg would be defamatory in any way, so y’all shouldn’t be foaming at the mouth to attack Spielberg or Kushner. Spielberg might be onto one of his better pictures in the last decade if he brings any enlightenment to a terrible tragedy. He did a better than expected job with Schindler’s list re. how it handled history, cut him some slack.
    I have alot more faith in Munich becasue it is being handled by Spielberg. If it were handled by Ron Ho, you;d have something to worry about since he saw fit to destroy Max Baer in reputation in Cinderella Man, and conveniently left out the fact that he did do something for the Jewish community when it was dangerous to do so. I doubt Speilberg would be so callous in this situation. He also doesn’t need the money so he doesn’t have to pander to anyone and I hope he will do his own thing.
    I am sure he won’t do a WOTW version of Munich, but a Schindler’s List version where he is respectful of history.

  148. jeffmcm says:

    This is the problem with threads about movies that won’t come out for up to six months from now…nothing to really talk about beyond conjecture.

  149. Lota says:

    Just saw Dave’s post on this thread. He is a vampire.
    Drink up!

  150. Angelus21 says:

    You aren’t allowed to question a writers motives now? He is the tool with which this story is starting. Everyone has a right to question why SS would use him.

  151. Lota says:

    Who said you can’t ask questions?!
    But to condemn him product unseen is pretty nervy considering the talent of the two persons involved.

  152. Angelus21 says:

    So you’re saying we can’t ask questions or question a writers motives? A writer who has been extremely public in his stance against Israel and what they do?
    I get it. We’re all supposed to just blindly trust Spielberg that he’ll bring in a great film with just the right touch of heart and pro Israeli stance. I’m sorry but thats not how I do things. I’ll question and probe and ask questions. I don’t have my eyes closed praying for good things like you Lota.

  153. Lota says:

    you clearly didn’t read my post
    “Who said you can’t ask questions?!
    But to condemn him product unseen is pretty nervy considering the talent of the two persons involved.”
    Of course you or anyone can ask questions–but most of the negativity on this thread isn’t asking questions as much as condemning without any informed facts on the project or status thereof.

  154. Chester says:

    Lota, I’ve indicated all along that everyone should keep their ferocity in check and not present presumptions as truth, at least until someone trustworthy gets to review a draft of the script. But I’ve also said that Spielberg is going to have to take the heat and responsibility for his judgment call here because the signs certainly don’t bode well. The these-guys-are-consummate-professionals-and-can-be-trusted-to-do-whatever-is-in-the-best-interests-of-everyone-involved notion is IMHO the worst kind of spin. (Compare: Have you ever said that about the winner of an election when the candidate you supported lost?) This is an important subject to millions of people, and to say that the hiring of an outspoken advocate of pro-Palestinian causes like Tony Kushner shouldn’t be a source of alarm to supporters of Israel is ridiculous. That’s like saying it would be an innocuous turn of events if Air America announced it was hiring Rush Limbaugh for its rush-hour shift.
    We’re talking about this issue now, months before any of the film has been screened, because … well, that’s what we do here. And you can’t conveniently compare it to the imbecilic attack on Mex’s opinion of “Schindler’s List” simply because both targeted criticisms of Spielberg’s two Jewish films. You can’t give manufactured lies equal weight to a factual record like Kushner’s.

  155. joefitz84 says:

    I didn’t know or think that Spielberg was this utterly clueless. He is a fervent Israel supporter. This can’t be good.

  156. Sanchez says:

    The negativity on this thread is from the fact that a Israel hater and Marxist is writing a movie about the Mossad. The elite Israeli unit charged with handling and taking out terrorists. Yeah, I think the people against this have a right to question and ask Spielberg, “What the Hell are you thinking???”

  157. Lota says:

    Chester–you may indicate that people should keep their ferocity in check, but don’t you think that you should do that yourself– this statement You made is a bit more than ‘asking a question’:
    “Let’s just wait and see if Jews worldwide decide to take back the title of “righteous person” they bestowed on him after “Schindler’s List.” ”
    Sounds like presumption to me. and ferocious.
    And yeah millions are interested/have some stake in this movie, not just you and not just me.

  158. Chester says:

    I’m sorry, Lota, but I’m having trouble seeing how a phrase that begins with “Let’s just wait and see” is anything other than a call for a wait-and-see approach.
    Especially in the context of the posting from which you selected that sentence (8:12 PM, above), which began “I think Spielberg has the right to choose whomever he wants on his projects … but then must take responsibility and be willing to answer for the end results as well.”
    Those tempered statements sound presumptuous and ferocious? No, Lota, with all due respect (and that’s a lot -you are one of my favorite contributors on this site), it sounds like you are a little too enamored with Kushner’s undeniable talent as a wordsmith to be objective about the political concerns and sensitivities at play here.

  159. Lota says:

    Kushner’s “undeniable talent as a wordsmith” is why he should be a good hire. It’s called competence.
    What Spielberg does with it after that is his call, and I doubt very much that StevenS hasn’t given the the political concerns/sensitivities great consideration.
    How can I be anything but optimistic when I haven’t read the script? And neither have you.
    Chester–All of your posts are very negative re. ‘Munich’ and stating that Kushner doesn’t bode well etc so it is difficult to see your comment as being purely a flat statement. If Stevo saw it I am sure he’d be a mite hurt at your suggestion. Someone say that about an award bestowed upon me I don’t think I could take it positively. I’d really wonder if there was a reason it was brought up–like a warning.
    When a real or fake copy of the script gets leaked then people will be looking at every letter in and out of context, I am sure.

  160. Lota says:

    i have deadlines so i am out for awhile…but I forgot to say I have an extremely hard time seeing Joaquin Phoenix as The Man in Black. I don’t know why(maybe it’s the hippy vegan thing)…but I do. I hope it will be good becasue Johnny Cash was one of the coolest in the music world, but…Ray Charles was one of the coolest too but the movie wasn’t brilliance.
    and I predict that Last Days will not win Best Picture.

  161. Chester says:

    Lota, the problem is that you make Kushner sound like a typical hack writer for hire with a paid job to do. He’s not. He’s an outspoken political activist with an agenda that is very disturbing to those of us who are supporters of Israel. Since this is a movie that will be seen by tens of millions of people, a little trepidation is not unreasonable.

  162. Lota says:

    A little trepidation is not unreasonable but it is more than that on this blog. I am sure Stevo talked to him at length before they even agreed on anything. It’s not like he’s making a home movie. Spielberg knows he has to be careful with history or he wouldn;t have bothered with Schindler’s list.
    I’ve worked with Marxist party members and facist party members in europe on different things and you talk about all that stuff off the record and have very clear what the boundaries are for professional reasons. Spielberg doesn’t seem like some limp-wristed pushover to me.
    i really have to get to my deadline or I’m not sleeping tonight.

  163. Sanchez says:

    I don’t have a little trepidation. I’m outright scared. I don’t need a Marxist rewriting this part of history. Maybe thats how you want it. Not me. No siree.

  164. Panda Bear says:

    I’m more worried about the Stone film on 9-11. I can’t think of a worse person to be doing that film. Maybe Michael Moore. That would be it. Don’t these film companies think? It’s not like Stone has had a hit since the 1980’s.

  165. Chester says:

    Lota, first, this has absolutely nothing to do with Kushner’s Marxist beliefs. It has to do with his active support of the Palestinians.
    Second, you keep defending Spielberg’s judgment, but what do we really know about his politics in this area? The fact that he directed “Schindler’s List” is utterly meaningless as far as his feelings about the Arab-Israeli conflict may go. On the other hand, his sudden decision to make a movie that is reportedly based on a book that is highly critical of Mossad, then tops that off by hiring the pro-Palestinian Kushner, is (again) at least cause for trepidation. After all, a lot of Hollywood Jews are openly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause (and are completely unrepresentative of Jews worldwide), and for all I know Spielberg may be in their camp. (Does anyone know if Spielberg has ever addressed this issue before?)
    Finally, I’m just going to throw my hands up in the air. Why don’t you get it? No one expects Tony Kushner to write an objective script about Israeli counterterrorism measures any more than they would expect Ann Coulter to write one about the inner workings of the Clinton administration.

  166. KamikazeCamel says:

    I kind of lost any interest at all with this thread with people started to actually criticise The American President (as in the movie).
    Anyway, is it not entirely possible that Munich could still turn out to be good? Some people sound like they think the film as instantly been ruined.
    Surely it can’t be worse than War of the Worlds.

  167. jeffmcm says:

    Please throw your hands up in the air and let them hang there until December. There’s little point in doing otherwise until Munich comes out, if you really enjoy fretting. Or go picket Tony Kushner’s house if you feel like doing something. Start a letter-writing campaign.

  168. jeffmcm says:

    interesting little piece of trivia I didn’t know: most of Oliver Stone’s movies have been given plum December release dates, but Natural Born Killers was released in late August 1994…pretty much got dumped over the traditionally crappy Labor Day period. Take that as you will.

  169. KamikazeCamel says:

    “They should have offered Mel Gibson the chance to direct it. At least he would have insisted on an all-Japanese cast speaking their native language, maybe with subtitles. And would have reaped $200 million at the box office.”
    …Because we all know Jim Caviezel and Monica Belucci were born and bred in Israel?! And of course Mel himself is Scottish.
    That was stupid.
    (they new they didn’t have an awards movie with Natural Born Killers, although that still doesn’t explain Alexander. Maybe the release date was in the contract?)

  170. bicycle bob says:

    spielberg is making a blunder that i think will hurt the movie more than anything. thats what this is about.

  171. Josh says:

    Stone directing a 9/11 film might be worse than a Marxist writing an Israel film. But it’s a toss up. No wonder studio execs get fired daily.

  172. Bruce says:

    Oliver Stone might be the definition of a hack right now. He doesn’t even do anything interesting anymore. He said all he needed to say by the early 90’s.

  173. bicycle bob says:

    bruce, u kidding? u mean u haven’t liked alexander, any given sunday, u turn, nixon, heaven and eart, all super hits???
    i find that hard to believe. those are classics.

  174. TheBrotherhoodOfTheLostSkeletonOfCadavra says:

    This is the stupidest thread I’ve seen lately, and that’s saying something. You really think Spielberg’s gonna include anything he doesn’t approve of? Kushner’s a pro, he knows the score, and he’ll write the picture Spielberg wants to make. Take this argument to its logical conclusion and we must assume that Steven Zaillian must be a Nazi since he scripted SCHINDLER’S LIST. Howzabout everyone just dummy up until the film is actually made, okay?
    And by the way: ANY GIVEN SUNDAY grossed $90 million in the U.S. Not exactly a flop.

  175. Bruce says:

    He’s may be a pro but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to include his own beliefs in a script. He is a writer. He is not a regular script doctor like a Goldman. He only knows how to write about what he knows.

  176. LesterFreed says:

    Maybe Spielberg wants to take an anti Israel approach to the movie and flush all his Jewish goodwill down the drain because he believes in the Palestine cause.

  177. Joe E says:

    Maybe Kushner just did the rewrite for the money and doesn’t care about the final film, like say, I don’t know, EVERY SCRIPT DOCTOR EVER!!!

  178. Bruce says:

    You really don’t know anything about Kushner do you? If he was in the making money business he would have sold and written scripts before. Not only worked on stuff he wanted to. Work that only interests him.
    This is a mistake by Spielberg that will only get worse if the film isn’t good.

  179. Lynnie says:

    It’s really sad that anyone who doesn’t take an Israel-can-do-no-wrong approach is an Israel basher or doesn’t believe in Israel’s right to exist.
    There are a lot of Jews in both the West and Israel who believe that many of Israel’s policies and actions in the territories go against Jewish traditions of human rights and are ultimately harmful politically in terms of Israel’s standing in the world. That doesn’t mean they believe that Palestinian terrorism is right, either. It’s akin to saying that if you’re opposed to torture at Guantanamo Bay you support terrorism or believe it’s morally equivalent. Um, no.
    It’s disturbing that Jews can’t even raise questions about any of this without being labeled and dismissed as anti-Israel. What happened to the great tradition of debate, of questioning, of seeking truth through listening to people who disagree and trying to learn from it? Is there only One True Way now and everything else is wrong? If so, we have lost something very precious.
    It’s also disturbing to see it suggested that if this movie raises any questions at all about how Israel handled the Munich aftermath that it’s an anti-Israel movie. Is the only sufficiently pro-Israel message that Israel is perfect, has never made a mistake, and can do no wrong? That sounds like the type of extremist propaganda that would be shunned if it came from anywhere else. That also sounds like it would make a pretty boring movie.
    It’s also disturbing (and I think just wrong) that people seem to believe that Spielberg (who is very clearly pro-Israel) is going to let things get written into the script that aren’t consistent with his overall vision for the film. I seriously doubt that he just tossed Kushner the script and told him to rewrite it however he pleased. He was hired to do a job and most likely given very clear parameters to work with. What we’ll see in the film is Spielberg’s vision, not Kushner’s. It’s called a director’s medium for a reason.

  180. jeffmcm says:

    Some of these guys don’t believe the director is the final authority on a film, watch out.

  181. BluStealer says:

    Jeff obviously doesn’t realize that the script is the blueprint of the film and it is really tough to deviate from it while filming. No matter how strong a director is. Tough to make The Godfather out of Agent Cody Banks. Some people don’t get that because they have never read a script.

  182. Bruce says:

    It really is naive to say the screenwriter doesn’t have a voice in the film. Wake up. Smell those roses.

  183. jeffmcm says:

    If you’re Steven Spielberg, one of the film’s producers and financiers, you tell the writers what the story is and how the dialogue should sound and they do what you say, and if you don’t like the result you bring on another writer.

  184. jim says:

    Where’s The White Countess!?!?!
    Big omission.

  185. Sanchez says:

    He is already writer number 3. You would think they would do a tiny bit of research on him first before they make a hire.

  186. Mark says:

    Maybe Spielberg has earned the right to be trusted. But not with this decision. Not with this Marxist writing this.

  187. Lynnie says:

    What the hell does Marxism have to do with this movie? Is it about economic theory or something? Or are we back to blacklisting writers for their political beliefs now?

  188. Mark says:

    Maybe you should read thru this thread before you go posting remarks like that. Doesn’t take too much time. Do us all a favor and help us out and read. It’s not hard.

  189. Angelus21 says:

    I’m not going to rehash all I’ve said on the matter. Said as much as I want to about it. Take some time and google “kushner marxist israel” and you will see his writings. Thanks.

  190. joefitz84 says:

    If Kushner had his way half of Israel would be Arab and they’d have no weapons and wouldn’t defend themselves. He is a great guy to be writing this. A guy who obviously can’t stand the Mossad.

  191. jeffmcm says:

    Sounds like blacklisting to me.
    PS: Half of Israel is Arab. It’s called the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

  192. joefitz84 says:

    He should be blacklisted. From all projects concerned with Israels security. He can do a million other things.

  193. Chester says:

    Lynnie, I generally agree with your position, and I appreciate your fair and thoughtful comments. As I see it, though, the issue has a lot to do with the magnitude of this film. When Steven Spielberg makes a movie, it’s almost certainly going to reach a bigger audience all around the world than any political pundit, book or newspaper editorial. Which means that this has the potential to be a significantly influential, incendiary film worldwide. And I’m sorry to say that Spielberg, master filmmaker though he may be, doesn’t automatically get my vote as the best man for the job. IMHO he doesn’t always have the best judgment, and is too often driven (especially lately) toward conveniently pap-and-hokum resolutions. (Take a look at the shamelessly outrageous ending of “War of the Worlds” for the most recent example.) He’s a phenomenal master of the medium who is brilliant at leaving audiences shaken, yet all too often he fails to stir us intellectually.
    I suppose that may be why he’s turned to an intellectual like Kushner for this project. The concern I personally have with Kushner is not that he is an objective soul troubled by certain Israeli policies, as you’ve somewhat portrayed him, but that he’s an outspoken, published, vitriolic critic of the state of Israel. The utterly arbitrary, irrelevant diatribe at the very end of HBO’s “Angels in America” serves as some widely seen proof of that. Furthermore, the constantly repeated notion on this page that Spielberg would hire someone who’s won the Pulitzer Prize, two Tony Awards, two Drama Desk Awards, the Evening Standard Award, two Olivier Award Nominations, the New York Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, and the LAMBDA Literary Award for Drama and then rein him in is dubious at best.
    So I hope you’ll understand if I, like many people here, won’t necessarily rubber-stamp Kushner or even Spielberg to handle explosive material like this. Like I’ve said above, I’m just articulating my personal concerns, and for all I know the movie will be a brilliantly wrenching masterpiece. On the other hand, it’s really dismaying to see people like jeffmcm criticizing anyone for even so much as raising the issues. Forgive me if I thought that’s what discussion boards were for.

  194. Panda Bear says:

    I’m troubled by every aspect of Kushner. Hve you ever listened to this guy? Try it.

  195. jeffmcm says:

    It’s fine with me if you raise issues…I just got tired of you raising them over and over again in three days with the movie six months away. Plus do you feel the same way about other politically outspoken film people? Oliver Stone and his Sept. 11 movie, to name one incendiary topic?

  196. jeffmcm says:

    Chester: I also appreciate that you’re more articulate and aware of the complexities of this issues than several other people on this blog, and are calling for concern and not extreme, stupid measures, so thanks.

  197. Sanchez says:

    I appreciate that Jeff is very inarticulate and very unaware of is situation. It is sad when someone is that dumb.

  198. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, very dumb. But I look up to you, Sanchez, for enlightenment, keep up the good work.

  199. Mel F says:

    Where’s Cate Blanchett in “Little Fish”? She’s on a roll….

  200. Sanchez says:

    Jeff why do you always have to single me out? Did I do something to you to warrant this type of interest from you? Get a grip.

  201. Stella's Boy says:

    Maybe it’s because you call him names.

  202. Chester says:

    Jeff, in response to your 6:53 posting, I think at this point in his career Oliver Stone borders on being an indie filmmaker who no longer has the kind of guaranteed mainstream following that someone like Spielberg does. However, I’ll also say this for Stone: Anyone who saw “Nixon” knows that, despite his lefty reputation, Stone doesn’t necessarily toe any party line. The same can’t be said for someone like Kushner – not yet at least.

  203. Joe Leydon says:

    I can’t help noticing that it’s been a while since we’ve had a posting from LDB (or whatever his alias du jour is). Leading to ask, somewhat fearfully: Er, Jeffmcm — you haven’t gone ahead and done something… well, RASH, have you?

  204. jeffmcm says:

    LDB aka JW is a big Gilmore Girls fan.

  205. Mel F says:


The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

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