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David Poland

By David Poland

I Must Admit…

… it doesn’t make me sad when Andrew Sarris sees Brokeback Mountain through a prism much like my own.
Also, This from David Letterman…
Top Ten Signs You’re A Gay Cowboy
10. “Your saddle is Versace”
9. “Instead of ‘Home On The Range’, you sing ‘It’s Raining Men'”
8. “You enjoy ridin’, ropin’, and redecoratin'”
7. “Sold your livestock to buy tickets to ‘Mamma Mia'”
6. “After watching reruns of ‘Gunsmoke’, you have to take a cold shower”
5. “Native Americans refer to you as ‘Dances With Men'”
4. “You’ve been lassoed more times than most steers”
3. “You’re wearing chaps, yet your ‘ranch’ is in Chelsea”
2. “Instead of a saloon you prefer a salon”
1. “You love riding, but you don’t have a horse”

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27 Responses to “I Must Admit…”

  1. JckNapier2 says:

    Rather than just reiterating several points made in my review at a newspaper that I won’t mention as I don’t want to be accused of plugging (if you want to know, just ask), I’ll post the review below. Point being, I was in agreement with many of the points in Saris’s piece, as well as Poland’s analysis (with one major disagreement), but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the movie. Just because it’s slightly more complicated than being ‘the great homosexual American love story’, doesn’t mean it should be faulted as such.
    Based on E. Annie Proulx

  2. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Nice review there Scott. You really seemed to have actually thought about the film and not just decided on face value.
    It’s surprising when people say the movie is too long or too slow. It’s Ang Lee for cryin out loud. He takes his time.

  3. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    by the way, why should it make you sad or not what this Andrew Sarris guy thinks? Would it have made you sad if he thought otherwise?
    I’m a bit confused is all.

  4. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    sorry, me again.
    Why on earth does this guy need THREE PAGES for his review? Christ, for a movie he didn’t like he sure can talk about it.
    Plus, there’s a mistake on page 2. The cinematographer is Rodrigo Prieto, not Gustavo Santaolalla who is actually the films composer.

  5. BluStealer says:

    3 pages does seem a little much for this movie. I have read reviews that seem to be more about what the movie is about and its themes than of the movie itself.

  6. Haggai says:

    Andrew Sarris has been one of the most prominent film critics/writers around for at least the last 40 years, so certainly almost anyone who writes about movies (like DP) would be pleased to see that their reactions to any particular movie were similar to Sarris’. That’s not to make any judgment on my part about this Sarris article in particular (I haven’t read it).

  7. Terence D says:

    My question is can a movie with obvious faults win Oscar gold because of what it represents and what it is about in terms of story?

  8. Josh says:

    It’s the top contender right now. Going into it I thought it was a two man story. Now I’m seeing it is really Heath Ledgers movie.

  9. Me says:

    Has there been a movie that’s won Oscar gold that hasn’t had its obvious faults?

  10. Me says:

    I also don’t get why, if Dave isn’t so certain he likes or can get into BM (or however he phrased it), that he put it as his number two movie of the year?

  11. Nicol D says:

    Terence D,
    The answer to your question is a qualified yes.
    Most ‘Oscar’ films of recent years (some might argue many years) are easily more about the message than how that message is delivered. That does not mean obvious junk will win. But good can and will be elevated to great depending on how politically correct the subject matter is. I quit watching the awards for precisely this reason several years ago.
    The politics of the awards season sadly has become overwhelming. By politics I do not just mean ideology (but certainly that too), but the lobbying and the campaign strategy perfected by Miramax has really hurt the perception of the awards for many over recent years.
    Again, when you compare the company of those who have never won an Oscar; Hitchcock, Scorsese, Kubrick, Wells, Griffith, etc.
    …with the company of those who have…Ron Howard, Steven Soderbergh, Anthony Minghella, Jonathan Demme, James L. Brooks, its puts a lot into perspective. None of those on this bottom list are as consistently great as those on the top list.
    Throw in other categories with winners like Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, Gwenyth Paltrow…and you see that the Oscars are little more than your high school popularity contest broadcast to an international audience.
    When Spielberg gets ‘dissed’ this year for Ang Lee (a good but not great director with a very scattershot resume) he should keep this in mind. Hopefully Spielberg, if he really does believe in Munich will not take the bait and not campaign. Gibson backed out last year and kept his dignity in the process. Spielberg, love him or hate him is a cinematic genius…he should be big enough to rise above the politics of Oscar.
    Scorsese’s whimpering puppy dog Oscar desire since Goodfellas’ loss has lessened his stature of recent years. Incidently, the fact that Munich has not been resoundingly praised has made me want to see it even more. He must have really done something that is a little off the beaten path.
    I know many will say I am being Mr. Grumpy Pants here…but critiquing what the Oscars have become cannot be stated enough.

  12. Haggai says:

    Is “what the Oscars have become” really all that different from what it used to be? Does anyone bemoaning the politics of Oscar campaigning today recall that Citizen Kane was the target of negative industry politics that dwarfs anything even remotely possible today? Not that I mean this as a criticism of the movie it lost out to (How Green Was My Valley), which I love. But how can anyone think that there was EVER a time when industry politics didn’t dominate, or even define, the Oscar race?

  13. Crow T Robot says:

    For the record, Nicol D and I are not the same person. But I’ll be damned if I could have said it better.
    (BTW: TCM had Kong ’33 last night with AMC following it directly with Kong ’76. It’s interesting to see how 3 very different generations have told this tale.)

  14. RoepersGottaGo says:

    Isnt Sarris the guy who said Kubrick was not an auteur. Yeah, Im glad my opinions match his..(sarcasm) Didnt he develop the so-called auteur theory?

  15. Haggai says:

    Yeah, Sarris was one of the main champions of the “auteur theory” in American film circles, but of course it originated with French critics. I think Truffaut is generally credited with being the first one to use the term in the context that it developed into.

  16. metsys says:

    With all of the controversy over Memoirs of a Geisha not letting Japaneese actors play the main characters. Why aren’t real gay actors playing these parts like Freddie Prinz Jr. and Ashton Kutcher?

  17. Haggai says:

    LOL, metsys. Dude, Where’s My Oscar?

  18. James Leer says:

    “Dude, Where’s My Car” was pretty gay already. In a good way.

  19. David Poland says:

    Sarris is my favorite critic, currently. We often disagree and I could not stand reading him when I was at NYU. But he makes me think in his more recent years.
    And it doesn’t matter in terms of shaping my beliefs about the film… but it is lonely out here for a pimp.

  20. Crow T Robot says:

    I know what you’re saying poland… critics ain’t nothing but tricks and hos.
    Wait, I have no idea what you’re saying.

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Loneliness has driven David to consume massive quantities of Colt 45, to deaden the ache in his heart. How tragic.

  22. RoepersGottaGo says:

    Speaking of tricks and hos and favorite critics, has Ebert not liked any film this year? I love his written reviews still, but the guy has thumbs everywhere.

  23. bicycle bob says:

    i dont know about the whole weight loss thing either. he looks sickly lately.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    So does Peter Jackson. First time I saw him recently, I was stunned.
    (Does Ebert wear a hairpiece? I figured he couldn’t stand to be both the fat AND bald critic).

  25. Mark Ziegler says:

    Roper is taking all the weight that Ebert lost. He’s packing on the lb’s.

  26. Sanchez says:

    The ’76 Kong is just really unintentionally funny. But Jessica Lange looks damn good.
    I forgot she was that hot.

  27. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    As much as I love the guy and his reviewing style and such, Ebert is giving 4 star reviews out to everything. So many that when his top 10 came out I was like “aren’t there another 30 movies he apparently loved just as much”.
    Metsys, lol. I don’t think casting hetero actors to play gay cowboys is offending anyone because it’s not insulting an entire nationality of people.

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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