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David Poland

By David Poland

The New Maxim Is Here!

Guess which magazine quoted in the Rent TV ads published:
“What’s worse than sitting in a cafe listening to overeducated, ambitionless hipsters whine aout their personal problems? Having them jump on tables and sing about them. And with all the creativity director Chris Columbus (the man who gave us Home Alone) is likely to bring to the proceedings, they’d have been better off just mounting a camera on a tripod and pointing it at the stage.”

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19 Responses to “The New Maxim Is Here!”

  1. joefitz84 says:

    It is true.

  2. brack says:

    attitudes like this are why the movie musical is DEAD.

  3. brack says:

    oh, and Chris Columbus did direct the first two Harry Potter flicks.

  4. b diddy says:

    oh, and Chris Columbus did direct Bicentennial Man. Bad movie musicals was why the movie musical was dead for a long time.

  5. Josh says:

    Home Alone was a great, great film.

  6. James Leer says:

    It is sad that the man who wrote gleefully nasty, subversive movies like “Gremlins” (as well as “The Goonies” and “Young Sherlock Holmes) has become the standard-bearer for middlebrow.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    It’s what happens when people with youthful energy grow up, all of a sudden they feel a need make films that are ‘respectable’ and ‘artistic’ instead of the crowd-pleasers that made them successful.

  8. Josh says:

    So he wants some respect as well as some money. What’s the problem with that? And maybe just maybe he likes the material. Shocking.

  9. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Well, I’m just thankful they’re still making some. But, the musicals I’m most looking forward to are The Producers and Romance & Cigarettes. Could that finally be the movie to get Kate Winslet an Oscar as well? Hmm…

  10. James Leer says:

    I’d say it’s money, in Columbus’s case. Look at how different the small-town setting and sensibility in movies like “Gremlins” and “The Goonies” are compared to glossy Restoration Hardware ads like “Stepmom” and “Nine Months.”
    I will give current Columbus credit for two things, though: near-perfect casting to jump-start the “Harry Potter” franchise, and a willingness to get those kids banged up and bloodied in the first film.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    The ‘problem’ with Columbus trying to make more serious adult-type movies is, he’s not a good enough director to pull them off. Bicentennial Man sucked. Harry Potter 1 was fine but 2 was really boring and uninspired. I never had any interest in seeing Stepmom or Nine Months because they looked like boring middlebrow dreck. And obviously he took Rent because he was hoping it would be an awards movie.

  12. Blackcloud says:

    “Chamber of Secrets” is my favorite of the four Potter movies, just a shade ahead of “Azkaban.”

  13. Sanchez says:

    Columbus really casted his films well. The Potter series is like genuis casting.

  14. EDouglas says:

    The Producers is good enough to make people forget how bad Rent is.

  15. bicycle bob says:

    why would they hire chris columbus to make rent anyway?

  16. PetalumaFilms says:

    Ouch! RENT is getting universally slammed. Film Threat gave it one star as well. Too bad. I like the clip with Rosario Dawson dancing half nekkid…but not enough to pay $9 to see it.

  17. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I still hold a spot for Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. One of my favourite Christmas movies.
    And I will not lie and say Mrs Doubtfire wasn’t absolutely hilarious when I was 10. I still get a decent chuckle out of it.

  18. Nicol D says:

    Hmmmm.Maybe Columbus should have just wrote and produced Rent and taken directing duties on Chistmas with the Kranks.
    Then he could have upped the budget, upped the shooting schedule and we all could have had a great big treat in our stocking this year!

  19. AgentArc says:

    Say what you will about Columbus, at least he’s no Raja Gosnell, aka his former editor-turned-director. It’s hilarious to see them both have a movie released on the same day.
    Looking back, Columbus really is one of the great Casting Directors. Harry Potter has held together brilliantly.

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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.

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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