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David Poland

By David Poland

Cold Mountin'

What drew me onto the Brokeback bandwagon at this moment was that I don’t think Geisha will draw 80% of the “romantic saga” voters at the Academy. Moreover, in direct comparison, Geisha suffers from its limitations. Brokeback has the dryness and love of inaction that pushed me away from it

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47 Responses to “Cold Mountin'”

  1. Sanchez says:

    It doesn’t have the stuff to break out in a major way. No stars. No english. Going to be super tough.

  2. Lota says:

    comparing Geisha to Cold Mountain (and the fact that you preferred Cold Mountain to it) means the movie is tepid which is worse than saying it sucks. Loved the book, too bad. I;ll see it anyway but it sounds disappointing if it is all style and no substantial passion (unlike Ms Ziyi in Crouching tiger).
    after seeing both Zathura and Chicken little, I’m sad to see Zathura is not pulling in the cash–it is the better movie by a rocky landslide. Chicken little was awful and the first 30 min was a plain display of how to abuse a child–it actually was upsetting.

  3. Sanchez says:

    Some novels are really too hard to turn into movies.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    So Brokeback is up not due to its own virtues, but because another picture won’t offer competition. This season is producing quite a few disappointments.

  5. EDouglas says:

    I really don’t think Memoirs was that bad a movie considering what Marshall was working with in terms of story, etc. I mean, his star couldn’t even show up for a half hour into it. I still think Memoirs will get a Best Picture nom because I think the themes and the tone will resonate more with Academy voters than Brokeback Mountain will, and let’s not forget that it is almost guaranteed nominations in a lot of categories including costumes, makeup, production design and John Williams’ score, and it could very well win a lot of them. Remember how many technical Oscars The Aviator won even though many thought it was a flawed film.

  6. EDouglas says:

    I agree about Gong Li..I wasn’t too impressed with her compared to Michelle Yeoh. I think Zhang Ziyi will get an acting nom and no one else (let’s not forget that Academy voters are well aware of her previous work in Crouching Tiger and House of Flying Daggers…and me, I thought she gave an Oscar worthy performance in 2046)

  7. Mark Ziegler says:

    If Munich fails to deliver on its promise?
    We could be looking at one of the worst Oscar years for best pictures in quite some time.

  8. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Well, not necessarily. It just might mean that some smaller films can rise up and take nods (GN&GL and ilk such as that).
    It’s a shame there’s no big foreign entry this year, cause in a year such as this it really could’ve risen up. Same goes for animation. If there was an Incredibles this year it could easily be a contender.
    I hear ya on Zhang Ziyi and 2046. She was great in that. But I’ve always liked her.
    On Cold Mountain, it also got a Best Actor nomination… hmmm…

  9. Wrecktum says:

    What about Match Point? The Academy loves Woody, and the reaction out of Cannes was great. In a slow year, could a serious Woody yield results?

  10. David Poland says:

    As for Brokeback, even though I am not a fan, my analysis is based on Academy bias… a lot of people do and will love the film.
    As for Woody, the film is great in comparison to his recent stinkers, but only good in the big picture.

  11. Mark Ziegler says:

    Woody faded years ago. Even before he married his daughter.

  12. lindenen says:

    Poland’s probably right. The NYTimes is already implying that gay is the new retarded.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    ‘gay is the new retarded’
    now THAT’s funny!
    Woody may have been an Academy darling before, but not so much these days, I don’t think. No nominations.

  14. lazarus says:

    Ziegler are you trying to make a joke or are you that oblivious to the facts behind the over 10 year-old Woody story? I expect that kind of crap from the basement dwellers on Aint It Cool but not the people on here.
    For the other idiots about to start talking shit, Soon-Yi was never Woody’s daughter. Mia Farrow adopted her with Andre Previn, her previous husband, which is why her name is Soon-Yi PREVIN. Woody did not help raise Soon-Yi. He may have stabbed Farrow in the back, but didn’t do anything illegal or reprehensible. What’s worse is a bitter Farrow accusing Woody of molesting their own children, something that was eventually thrown out of court.
    Sweet and Lowdown was a great film, and that was well after the break-up. And although it’s not universally acclaimed, Everyone Says I Love You was well received and fresh terrain for Woody. One of his most enjoyable in my opinion. While the last few have been abysmal, discrediting Match Point before seeing it is pretty naive, as many people seem to think it’s a great film. DP may not be overly impressed, but Ebert says it’s among his few best, including Annie Hall & Crimes and Misdemeanors. That’s pretty high praise.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    I agree that Sweet and Lowdown is a great film (especially with great performances) but the Academy will have been burned by too many bad Woody movies lately to pay attention even if Match Point is good.

  16. The Premadator says:

    “Zellweger won, I think, on Chicago guilt.”
    Poland, why can’t you just say that you didn’t click with the performance? To get down and dirty with comments like that means you have an agenda against the film. In that regard you’re entering Jeff Wells territory — something very much beneath your mentality.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think that’s fair, Premadator, because I agree with Poland and because that year, a weak group of competitors allowed Zellweger to win despite what I would call a bad performance. I would expand Poland’s statement to Miramax guilt, plus they liked here in Jerry Maguire. Would you be able to accept that very few people clicked with her performance?

  18. EDouglas says:

    I hated Match Point. I mean I literally was sitting there watching it going…”I don’t care if this is Woody Allen. Anyone else made a picture this bad, they would have been chastised, but a director of Woody’s caliber who has made as many movies as he has, should have done a better job.” The fact that it is Woody and it’s different from his other recent movies has given him a lot more leeway than any other director.
    Premise and plot aside, there are so many problems/issues with the movie from the poor choice in music (he should have hired a composer to score something rather than taking the cheap way out) to poorly picked performances/takes (at least three times, Rhys Meyers flubs/stumbles on his lines…and the take is left in). And a lot more… at least he’s returning to comedy (and starring) in his next one.

  19. EDouglas says:

    I agree with David on Zellweger, too…I think Laura Linney should have won for Kinsey.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Er, Zellweger won in 2004. Linney was nominated this past year. They didn’t compete.

  21. Lota says:

    “Zellweger won, I think, on Chicago guilt.”
    I don’t know if Rene Z won purely for Chicago guilt or if it was cumulative guilt over a number of movies, but it had to be guilt! talk about scenery chewing!
    It seems to be a common thing, doesn’t it? Cate Blanchett won her oscar over Elizabeth guilt and Russell Crowe won his Insider oscar for his Gladiator performance and on and on…many past examples.
    Julianne Moore will win her oscar for some piss poor performance for the times she was passed over.

  22. Angelus21 says:

    Zellwegger was certainly the best and only good thing about Cold Mountain.

  23. James Leer says:

    I’m in total agreement about Russell Crowe, but I think Cate Blanchett won for having the showiest role in her category and generally being the best thing about her movie.

  24. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Memoirs of a Geisha” = Play a Prostitute, Win an Oscar. Shirley Jones felt typecast after winning her Oscar so she became a musical mom on TV.
    “Cold Mountain” = Miramax Release, Thus It Gets Oscar Nominations. Throw in flag-waving ads and the movie shouts pro-war jingoism.
    “Chicago” = Miramax Release, Thus It Gets Oscar Nomations. What has Renee Zellweger done lately? The Oscar jinx strikes again!

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Chucky, you’ve stated before that you think the Weinsteins are personally pro-war, but Cold Mountain doesn’t back you up. It’s a movie about a guy fleeing war while his girlfriend deals with scumbag war-exploiters. Just because there are American flags in the poster does not a pro-war movie make.

  26. PandaBear says:

    The Weinsteins are about one thing.

  27. lazarus says:

    I’m not going to defend all the actions of the Weinsteins, but if their sole desire was to make money, they could have done it a lot easier by releasing cheaper, crappier movies that appeal to the lowest common denominator. Now people may piss all over their hybrid of mainstream-arthouse stuff, but I believe funding films by Minghella, Tarantino, Scorsese, Philip Noyce, etc. have done more good for cinema than harm.
    As for Cold Mountain, it’s probably one of the most anti-war films I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t show anything even remotely heroic done by anyone in a uniform, unless you count Inman’s tattered rags after he has deserted. All we see are the effects of the war on the civilians in the South, which are anything but pretty.
    Jeffmcm, how could you possibly say “few people clicked with her performance”? Which people? The audiences I saw the film with (on 3 separate occasions) did, and apparently the voters didn’t think she was that embarassing. I’ll admit it was a broad performance, and one that didn’t work for a lot of critics and indie film enthusiasts. But the majority of those people are cynical, cold-hearted bastards who don’t appreciate Minghella’s style anyway. A few good journalists, like Stephen Hunter (it was his #1 for 2003) Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Ray Pride did, so it’s not something solely for sentimental fools.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    My comment was addressed to Premadator, who was accusing Poland of having an outside agenda against Zellweger/CM. I was hoping he could agree that one could simply dislike the performance. “Few people” is perhaps hyperbolic.
    How do you know the 3 audiences you saw the film with (which is starling by itself) enjoyed her performance? Did you poll them? And are you saying only cold-hearted bastards don’t love the film?

  29. Josh says:

    You don’t think the Weinsteins are all about money? Check out their business plan. You might think they love awards but they use awards to get more money for their films. It’s a business to them.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    If they weren’t all about money, there would be no Dimension films.

  31. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    THANK YOU LAZARUS! I find it flabbergasting that people on here seem to wish Miramax never existed. As if the world would be better without all the great movies they have helped get made, get released, whatever. Sure, they may love their cash and awards but if we now live in a world with Tarantino’s films, “sex, lies & videotape”, “The Crying Game”, “Chicago”, the “Scream” franchise, “The Aviator”, etc then I’m glad.
    And while I’m sure there’s some people who wanted Cate to win for Elizabeth and subsequently voted for her for The Aviator, I think she would have won it on her own accord anyway.

  32. Wrecktum says:

    The Weinsteins love money, but they care more about publicity.
    The Weinsteins care nothing about real money, that is, maintaining a stable business that focuses on growth and the bottom line. All they care about is quick money: cash on hand so that they can make more movies to get more press.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    The Weinsteins have produced and released many good movies, but they have also purchased and suppressed many great foreign films in the interests of remaking them, or as package deals with films they wanted more. They have tied filmmakers to frustrating long-term deals, and they have made a lot of garbage. They’re just like most Hollywood producers, except they’ve had major control over their own studio, with all the accompanying power.

  34. Sanchez says:

    Money makes the world go round. You don’t get power in Hollywood unless you have some moneymaking hits.

  35. lazarus says:

    Once again, if money was the ONLY thing the Weinsteins were interested, they wouldn’t help bankroll big budget arthouse fare, however compromised you think it may be. And Dimension doesn’t prove anything–if that’s what they were about it would be ONLY Dimension, and no Miramax. You don’t produce a movie like The Talented Mr. Ripley to make money. Or The Quiet American.
    Harvey Weinstein loves movies as much as the next guy. But he IS a businessman, and unfortunately makes a lot of decisions with that mindset. Yeah, he has bought films and sat on them. Sure, he probably caused Scorsese to neuter his dream project. In the end though, he’s given opportunities to a lot of filmmakers who NEVER would have raised that kind of money elsewhere for riskier projects.
    As for the awards thing, I love how people always bring up the Shakespeare in Love crap and don’t have their facts straight. MORE MONEY was spent promoting Saving Private Ryan than Miramax’s effort. Why does it bother people that an indie upstart went head to head with a big studio & the world’s most popular director, and came out victorious? The guy should be applauded for championing his small film. I’m sure the people that worked on all the award-winning Miramax films over the years were glad to have the Weinsteins in their corner, and don’t bemoan his existence.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    “Why does it bother people that an indie upstart went head to head with a big studio & the world’s most popular director, and came out victorious?”
    only because said small film was a trifle that shouldn’t have won.
    Okay, the Weinsteins get some points for art, but you have to remember that they tried to dump The Quiet American and didn’t because Michael Caine talked him out of it. And really, there are two reasons they got into the art-house business: because it was a way to make cheap movies that would occasionally make huge profits, and for them to live the Hollywood lifestyle.

  37. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I actually applaud the Academy for choosing Shakespear in Love over Saving Private Ryan. SPR would have been the most cliched selection ever. A Spielberg WW2 movie starring Tom Hanks. Instead they went with the delightful Shakespeare comedy that is actually much smarter than people think (i analysed it for school for an entire year)

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    What bothers me is that the inferior movie (Shakespeare in Love) won. The rest doesn’t matter to me.

  39. bicycle bob says:

    shakespeare might be the worst oscar winner in the past 20 yrs.

  40. Scooba Steve says:

    Cut Kamikaze some slack. He’s gay, and thus biologically predisposed to liking Shakespeare in Love over the gung ho SPR. No shame in that.

  41. James Leer says:

    Wow, “Shakespeare in Love” is a good movie. Worst Best Picture winner of the last twenty years? Not hardly. It’s about as well-crafted, well-acted and delightful as a movie of that type can be.
    It’s funny, because though so many of us on this board enjoy Oscar prognosticating, it seems that there is another viewpoint that anything that actually won the Oscar is shit.

  42. Terence D says:

    All gays are predisposed to liking movies like Shakespeare in Love? I’m not one to say but I think that is a broad generalization there.
    My one question to anyone here who is gay. Are you predisposed to liking Brokeback Mountain and are you looking forward to seeing it?

  43. Scooba Steve says:

    Uh, my above post was a joke.
    I’m predisposed to them.

  44. Mark Ziegler says:

    If you throw in a show tune or two to an action movie you would have all your bases covered.

  45. Lota says:

    Why is it that every time Shakespeare in Love is brought up, it seems as if the only competitor to its “awards greatness” is Saving Private Ryan?
    That awards year was a GREAT year (I mean look at the oscars since then) so many good movies eligible: Affliction, American History X, Gods and Monsters A Simple Plan, The Truman Show, Central Station, Elizabeth, Hilary and Jackie, Little Voice, Pleasantville, The Thin Red Line, Velvet Goldmine, dreamlife of angels.
    I’d pick any one of those over SPR, which wouldn’t make my top ten for best war movies. I prefer old Spielberg, when he knew how to end a movie.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    The ending of SPR is magnificent and widely misunderstood.
    Considering that Spielberg won Best Director, it was almost certainly the runner-up that year. Even if Thin Red Line is in fact a better film.

  47. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    The movie that was royally screwed that year? Pleasantville.
    Joan Allen should’ve been able to sue for not being nominated for that performance. Downright cruel of the Academy to do that to her.

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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