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David Poland

By David Poland

A Terrific Review

You may or may not agree with Matt Zoller Seitz‘s take on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but regardless, I think that Seitz shows great insight on the less than thrilled perspective, making the review well worth a once over even if you disagree. To wit:
“The result is an oddly underachieving movie. Black balances mayhem and silliness so expertly that he could have taken us much further from the beaten path if he’d wanted to. But it seems he didn’t want to. Kiss Kiss is rudely amusing but never dangerous; it’s as self-aware as Hollywood action movie screenplays can get without actually being smart. The title is misleading; while there’s bang-bang galore, there’s not much sex and even less sexual chemistry. The real excitement comes from the sight of Harry and Perry and Harmony busting each other’s chops while Los Angeles explodes around them

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6 Responses to “A Terrific Review”

  1. The Premadator says:

    Black still writes the smartest, most energetic dialogue in town, but curiously insists on every character getting their share fair of it. Like a symphony with just harps, it enters the head nicely but gets old fast (probably because you start to expect it).
    Interestingly enough, while most filmmakers seem to have lost interest in the art of throwaway surface pleasures, be it sexual tension, raw suspense or crackling jokes, it looks to be Shane Black’s primary focus. Hey, I can respect that in a way.

  2. SpamDooley says:

    KKBB is clever smart and brilliant.
    Thus Warners throws it away.
    I am Spam Dooley and I feed my people.

  3. Harley says:

    Just for the record, perfecting that Hope character is no small thing.

  4. grandcosmo says:

    I disagree, while I think he does a good job I don’t think Downey does perfect it. The closest thing to the Hope character was Woody Allen in “Bananas” and especially “Love and Death”

  5. TuckPendleton says:

    I guess it’s a well-written review. Here’s what I don’t get, esp. coming from MSZ, who I think is one of the better reviewers out there: where is the love for a first directorial effort? Fine, Black’s been a white-hot, mega-successful writer, but that certainly doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a good director. While this movie doesn’t hit on all cylinders, it hits on most of them, and Black should be applauded for that. Sure, the plot is dense, but isn’t that a good thing? Reviewers in general bitch when the plot is formulaic, and then when someone attempts to mix it up a little, they complain it’s too hard to follow and makes no sense. Maybe the bar gets set a little higher for Black because of his previous writing success, but he still has to direct the movie. Why don’t we give him a chance to make a very good first directorial effort, before we expect his “mildly subversive commercial thriller that combines escapism with self-critique.” Of course Shane Black has commercial instincts – he wants to make another movie. Black is clearly smart, and will only grow as a director. I think that reviewers like MSZ sense this, and so they want more from him (a good thing) but they expect it too soon. Give the guy a chance to grow.

  6. Crow T Robot says:

    What’s best about KKBB is how Shane Blacky it feels. He’s really the only guy who could have written it. It really makes no sense in a few scenes, it totally goes for broke with the Groucho Marx comedy and it probably strives more to being likable than coherent.
    For people my age it’s hard to not get a little sentimental at Black’s quasi-macho stories, and judging from your rockin’ nickname, tuck, you remember that time well.

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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.”
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“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