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David Poland

By David Poland

This just in…

From Tuesday’s USA Today aka “The NYT Assignment Desk”…
Adds director Mark Waters (Mean Girls), “It’s clearly not inspired by the Schiavo case.” He doubts those on either side of the right-to-die issue could co-opt what is essentially a fantasy. “It’s not like there is a political or religious agenda to the movie. Everyone wants her to wake up.”
But just as Million Dollar Baby caused a ruckus over its depiction of assisted suicide, Heaven could raise concern over its Hollywood-ized picture of a young and healthy-looking coma patient. Especially since a life force in the form of Witherspoon’s somewhat vaporous presence clearly hovers outside her prone body.

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6 Responses to “This just in…”

  1. erikjay says:

    There were a number of ruckuses (rucki?) both big and small over the depiction of assisted suicide in “Million Dollar Baby” — the most overlooked of which had to do with its wholly false premise. There is no such controversy in medicine today as was depicted at the end of the film; anyone in the position of Hilary Swank’s character could simply ask that life-sustaining interventions be halted. Period. It’s that simple.
    The entire dramatic episode was built on either a deliberate lie or profound ineptitude. There is no parallel to the Terry Schiavo case, inasmuch as the Lady Boxer was conscious, alert, and competent to make decisions as to her treatment — any part of which treatment she could have refused.
    I am no longer surprised by the misleading portrayals of medical treatment, doctors, drug effects, etc., in today’s films. As just one other example, “Requiem for a Dream” makes a big show of getting close-ups of the young peoples’ eyes as they shoot heroin. The problem is, we see their pupils dilate just about all the way out to the iris when, in fact, opiates cause the exact opposite effect; the pupils of heroin users are dramatically constricted into little pinpoints (the slang is “pinned” as a matter of fact). “Requiem” should have had them shooting cocaine or amphetamines for the close-ups to have been believable.
    And, frankly, it does matter. Truth matters. Facts count. Accuracy is important. When we consider the fact that the media — not so much the press, but TV and music and movies — are, de facto, the permanent substitute teachers of today’s youth, it is unarguably important that, at a minimum, “content producers” get it right at least as often as not. Naturally, we all would like a much higher ratio of facts to fancy, but for now, with a media menu full of drivel and fable and hoax and nonsense, any progress is welcome.

  2. joefitz84 says:

    Million Dollar Baby still pisses me off. Was on its way to being better than Rocky before it had to try and win awards. Damn shame.

  3. jeffmcm says:

    People can write off Just Like Heaven as a fantasy, but, like erikjay says, fantasies matter. This movie represents exactly what the Schindler family was hoping/praying for Terry Schiavo, only in this movie, the fantasy comes true.
    MDB is a better film.

  4. bicycle bob says:

    so million dollar was better because she stayed dead and there was no happy ending? cynical way to go thru life.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    Million Dollar was simply a better-made, more emotional film.

  6. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Oh, god. Not this again!
    I swear this place goes in cycles.

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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