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David Poland

By David Poland

Monday, Monday…

NY Film Critics Circle… a humbled NBR… and of course, The Gurus of Gold
And DreamWorks “sale” to Paramount exposes itself as little more than a firesale and a 3-year housekeeping deal for Spielberg.
Is that enough to choke on for a morning?

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60 Responses to “Monday, Monday…”

  1. qwiggles says:

    How long until journos start punning on Brokeback’s ‘Mountain’ of awards?
    3 minutes?

  2. David Poland says:

    Brokeback Mounts Award Season

  3. Hopscotch says:

    “In the hump of Oscar Season, Brokeback Mountain comes all over the place for awards.”
    Can’t deny it, Brokeback is the front-runner. Though I can’t imagine Munich not making a serge when it gets seen widely.

  4. Paul8148 says:

    Brokeback wins San Franisco. Health best Actor and Reese is starting to roll up The Best Actress awards…….
    Best Picture

  5. bicycle bob says:

    was there any easier bet than brokeback mountain wins the san fran movie awards????

  6. Hopscotch says:

    Costner for Best Supporting Actor? Wtf?

  7. Josh says:

    I don’t put too much stock in these various critic awards. Like the NBR, SF, LA, etc. Seems they always have an agenda and seems they’re bought off. They lack credibility for me. I even prefer the Globes.

  8. RMac says:

    Costner was great in “Upside.” A well deserved award. Surprising only in that New Line doesn’t seem to be campaigning for it, and he hasn’t been at the top of many pundit lists. But this is merited.

  9. spotted reptile says:

    Brokeback wins LAFCC, BFCA, NYFCC.
    Must be a sad week for you, David.
    Those critics must have all been ‘bullied’.

  10. Terence D says:

    I highly doubt that DP takes it so seriously. I doubt he’s crying because “Brokeback Mountain” won a few critics awards.

  11. Hopscotch says:

    I thought ‘Upside’, and Costner’s performance were good…but it wasn’t Clifton Collins from Capote, or William Hurt, or Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon. I haven’t seen Brokeback, but I’ve heard Gyllenhal is quite good in it.
    I’m happy to see guys like Costner play anti-crusader roles like in Upside, but I don’t think Awards-worthy is the best description.

  12. Terence D says:

    Example Number One why these critic awards are full of you know what. Costner as Best Supporting Actor. A good performance? Sure it was. Award worthy? Not on your life. It can’t even hold a candle to Collins in “Capote”.

  13. Bruce says:

    Are we going to have to start taking Heath Ledger serious as Best Actor?
    You could have made some money a few years even uttering that last line. Heath Ledger????

  14. David Poland says:

    I don’t think the critics have been bullied. Have never said that. I do think that Brokeback is a movement more than a great movie. But it’s just my opinion. Not keeping me up nights… or even preoccupying me over lunch.

  15. Wrecktum says:

    I hear that Ang Lee’s next film is a remake of Phantom of the Opera.
    I keed, Poland.

  16. Mark Ziegler says:

    If you don’t think the support for Brokeback is a movement than you haven’t been paying attention.

  17. RMac says:

    I thought “Crash” was didactic, patronizing, fairly simplistic – “Upside” was a better movie, and Costner’s performance was subtler and more faceted than Chadle’s or Dillon’s in “Crash.” William Hurt was sharp and funny, but his performance was too short and too one-note to be called the best supporting performance of the year. That’s my opinion – I know that other critics groups have chosen Hurt. (And I am a big fan of “The History of Violence.”)
    Collins in “Capote” WAS good – maybe on a par with Costner, but not superior.
    Haven’t seen “Brokeback” yet, so I can’t comment on Gyllenhaal. But it appears he won’t be lacking for recognition either.

  18. Angelus21 says:

    “Crash” is the most overrated film of the year.

  19. Hopscotch says:

    Hear, Hear.

  20. Eric says:

    When somebody tells me how much they liked “Crash,” it affects my opinion of the person more than of the movie itself. It’s like this year’s “Napoleon Dynamite.”
    I hated “Crash.” I felt used after seeing it. It was simplistic and patronizing and its message was so, so cheap. Such a whore of a movie.

  21. Jimmy the Gent says:

    I’m glad the Washington critics are showing some love to Giamatti’s great supporting performance from Cinderella Man. In June, I thought he had a lock on WINNING the Oscar. It’s too bad Crowe’s bullshit seemed to make people how great Giamatti was in the movie.
    It’s also nice to see they remembered Terrence Howard’s galvanizing performance in Hustle & Flow, still the best male performance I’ve seen this year. They also remembered Amy Adams from Junebug. Adams and Howrad are the two nominations that would make me the happiest. If one or both get recognized they can give the rest of the awards to which ever movie they feel like.
    Giamatti, Howard, and Adams would make my year.

  22. PandaBear says:

    I’m with you on that. Paul G deserves some accolades for Cinderella Man especially after getting shafted last year.

  23. James Leer says:

    Ziegler, have you actually seen the movie?
    Josh, why do you think the Golden Globes are less “bought off” than, say, the LAFCC or NYFCC? Did Sharon Stone send you a watch?

  24. Mark Ziegler says:

    I’ve seen it and it’s not an Oscar winning film. It’s being celebrated as a movement. As a cause. It’s fine but it doesn’t mean it’s going to win Oscar. I thought it was well made and Ledger was better than anything he’s ever done, thats not saying much. But I don’t see how it is going to win in the end.

  25. joefitz84 says:

    These “awards” are mostly a way to get some publicity and have an open bar party. That’s about it.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    Napoleon Dynamite is a much better movie than Crash.
    So according to the Hot Button today, not only did Paramount not really buy Dreamworks, but Sony didn’t really buy MGM? Now I’m really confused.

  27. Eric says:

    Crash and Napoleon Dynamite share an absolute disregard for their own characters– they’re all set up only to be knocked down, so the movie can get in its cheap shots. Crash is particularly vulgar in the way it aspired to be something more and the sleazy shortcuts it took to get there.

  28. Chucky in Jersey says:

    DreamWorks is being sold to Viacom, not Paramount. Nobody in the Liberal Media has figured that out.

  29. David Poland says:

    Sony’s partners in the MGM have primary ownership and can walk away with the library in a few years. The greater upside for Sony is that there are active franchises and remake assets to be mined. But no, Sony didn’t really buy MGM.
    And no, Paramount is not really buying much of anything on a permanent basis with DreamWorks. If you don’t own the library, only have talent holds for 3 years, pay $75 million for distribution rights to DWA that also end in 7 years, buy no land and get few development projects that are highly valued, wht do you own? The 10-15 films that will be made under this deal will be paid for by Paramount and will or will not be successful. In the meanwhile, they will be paying maintenence on The Adobe and probably the Glendale campus too, seeing a significant amount of the DW budget go to a terrific but oversized – for that size production company – staff, and will have endless turf conflicts with the company they “own.”
    You tell me.

  30. David Poland says:

    How is that an issue, Chucky?

  31. James Leer says:

    I think Chucky just sensed a political flame war void in this topic and leapt in. The Hot Blog equivalent of “F1RST!!”?
    On that note, I’m preparing to enact legislation that mandates the use of the word “liberal” or a three-pronged attack of jeffmcm in every Hot Blog comments section.

  32. Wrecktum says:

    I’ve read elsewhere that Paramount will own the library, Poland, and that they now plan to sell it.

  33. Sanchez says:

    Napoleon Dynamite was ten times better than Crash.
    It’s not even a debate.

  34. Eric says:

    That true, it’s really not a debate if you don’t bother to explain your viewpoint.

  35. Sanchez says:

    Crash. Boring. preachy. Like a good tv movie preaching about how bad the white man is and how bad racism is. Boring.
    Napoleon. Creative. Funny. Unique. Original. Classic comic performances. Rewatchable. A better story.

  36. PandaBear says:

    Ok, I’m lost. Who owns Dreamworks library now?

  37. lazarus says:

    I don’t think the Globes or the critics group are suspect. Critics are too far up their own asses to be bought by anyone (how Josh thinks they can have an agenda AND be bought is a real laugher). And say what you want about the Hollywood Foreign Press, but they nominated The Man Who Wasn’t There and Mulholland Drive for Best Drama in the same year. That puts them a lot higher in my book than the Academy. They can be starfuckers all they want if they’re going to think outside the obvious Oscar Bait.
    Are you really expecting Josh to have some legitimate reasoning behind his idiotic stance? There isn’t usually one.
    Also, Napoleon Dynamite was devoid of good comedy to me, and it pissed me off that Garden State was crucified for being too sappy in its latter half, because the humor in the first was far superior to its rival, and just as “quirky” and bizarre. It just bothered to have characters that you gave a shit about. Oh, the nerdy brother’s online girl friend is some tall black chick from Detroit! Now THAT’S genius.
    And Sanchez thinks it’s landmark. Figures.

  38. Hopscotch says:

    thanks for the input, laz.

  39. Sanchez says:

    Apparently laz wouldn’t know good humor if it knocked him in the head.

  40. Crow T Robot says:

    I’m on your page, Rmac.
    Costner was a wonderful romantic goofball in Upside. Just because his performance was looser than the big “important” ones this year doesn’t mean it’s any less worthy.
    I’m really impressed by the momentum these two great actors are gaining this week.

  41. Josh says:

    I guess it’s real idiotic for critic groups to take gifts, prize, money, other assorted gifts and assume they’re votes aren’t swayed. Or to assume that a small band of critics get together, for example like the NBR, and they decide on a winner that will get that group the most publicity. And it’s real idiotic to assume that all critic group awards are 100% on the level and backroom deals aren’t made by studios and producers. Wow. It is absolutely shocking how that could happen.
    Stop being naive. Or maybe you are that dumb to think they’re on the up and up. It’s like saying Roger Friedman doesn’t give prefertial treatment to the Weinstein brothers or Harry Knowles doesn’t kiss the feet of Tarantino/Rodriguez. I figure a guy like lazurus would be that dumb to assume all that. Or maybe I hit a sore point and he’s a critic who is part of one of these groups. No offense, laz. No offense. But make sure you sell out to the highest bidder next time.

  42. joefitz84 says:

    I bet all these review groups, critic groups, award given out groups are on the level and have never taken anything free or every voted for a movie or performance for something other than artistic purposes. And artistic purposes only.
    (And Liberals will ever be tough on security issues and Carrot Top will be an A List star and Tookie Williams is innocent.)

  43. Sanchez says:

    It feels like the “Upside of Anger” came out three years ago. I wonder if any of the voters will remember it and was Costner that good in it?

  44. Josh says:

    When you have select few individuals voting on “awards” the legitimacy of those awards are going to be questioned. Agendas and being bought play into it. Also trying to get your group notoriety and distinction plays a part for any of these critic groups. The more they’re not like everyone else, the more they get talked about and the mroe they get noticed. And if you don’t think that plays a part in who “wins”, you’re terribly naive.

  45. Bruce says:

    98% of the public couldn’t tell you who won the NBR Award for Best Pic last year. Or who took home the most acting honors from all these groups last year. So, it’s a good speculation tool but that’s about it. Paul Giamatti took him probably 90% of these awards last year and he didn’t even get nominated!

  46. Me says:

    Well, I guess since I like Crash it tells you a lot about me. But since it’s not worth debating that Crash is a bad movie, I guess you’re all right and everyone else who made the movie a hit on word of mouth must be wrong. Must be nice to be a movie snob.

  47. Angelus21 says:

    Crash was okay. Nothing special. Some good acting performances. Certainly not an Oscar contender as a best picture. A good movie but it is not one of the five best this year. Or it would be a subpar year for the film industry.

  48. Sanchez says:

    I’ll bite, Me. What did you like about Crash? How can you possibly think it’s more than a movie of the week? Do you like being preached at for two hours?

  49. lazarus says:

    I’m missing something here. J. Hoberman and Manhola Dargis voting for Brokeback, for example, doesn’t bring them more publicity. The selection certainly doesn’t publicize the group more than an individual review does, and that just gets their names next to a quote in a movie ad once in a while. The NYFCC and LAFCC aren’t trying to help their images; that’s ridiculous. What image? How do these awards benefit them? Are people going to buy more copies of their individual publications because of it? No one outside film fanatics gives a shit, and even less so about groups like Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Boston, Vegas, or any other place in between.
    You can accuse them of reducing artistic endeavors to a contest just like AMPAS, but I don’t see how they’re more corruptible than the academy voters. If anything they’re more cynical and on guard against that kind of crap. I’m not saying their choices are perfect, and there’s sometimes a tendency to overpraise stuff (Million Dollar Baby, Sideways), but why does everyone have to be on the take? Holding up a douchebag like Roger Friedman as an example is a little extreme. That’s one guy, who everyone paying attention KNOWS is a shill. In the end we’re talking about a consensus, not the manipulation of single individuals. Unlike the Academy, these people have the benefit of congregating and discussing. While the decisions might have their own politics, I imagine it’s much cleaner than many are making it out to be.
    As someone who receives swag and operates tangential to those groups, I’d love to hear DP’s thoughts on this one.
    Ultimately, it doesn’t change the fact that the winners coming out of the critics’ prizes and the Golden Globe nominees are a lot more impressive than the shit AMPAS tends to spit out at the end of the year. So why even seek out some phantom homosexual conspiracy?

  50. James Leer says:

    Also, if you’re not interested in the critics’ groups and the run-up to the Oscar nominations, you may be in the wrong place right now.

  51. Eric says:

    You know, it’s possible that a word-of-mouth hit like Crash is still a lousy movie.
    In fact, one of the fundamental flaws of Crash is a quality which probably helped it to be such a hit: the way it shamelessly panders to the audience. By supplying all the answers– the easiest answers, at that– it makes you feel superior in the shallowest, most P.C. way imaginable.

  52. JMN123 says:

    How can Squid and the Whale win best screenplay at the NBR and not be inculded in the top ten or the runner ups….something smells fishy

  53. lazarus says:

    ^^^ Best unintentional pun of the year? Read it again.

  54. Alexgrl says:

    “You know, it’s possible that a word-of-mouth hit like Crash is still a lousy movie.”
    It is also possible that that Crash touched a cord with viewers and critics judging by the amount of noms it has received. It didn’t make me feel superior at all. It did, and still does, make me question myself on the issue of racism, and how it relates to my everyday life. Was it realistic? No. It wasn’t meant to be, just thought provoking.

  55. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    God, How can people call Crash horrible yet praise Napoleon Dynamite. Because putting tater tots in your pocket is the high mark of comedy!
    Napoleon Dynamite to me was just watching 90 minutes of a frustrating loser being a frustrating loser.
    I liked Crash. I thought the performances were good, cinematography and music were ace. Yes, it was preachy (i’m not a big fan of the screenplay), but i wouldn’t expect it to be any less.
    Brokeback has won LA and NY. Has there every been a film to win both of those but to NOT get a Best Picture nom? Add to that all the others it’s won and will win.
    The big surprises of the awards season so far? Amy Adams and Catherine Keener scooping all the Best Supporting Actress awards. Yet, neither of them are anywhere near lock status and I’d barely even put them in the top 5. I think Adams could do it though.
    Kevin Costner winning Best Supporting Actor? WELL DONE, SAN FRAN. Excellent choice. it’s obvious he’s not getting anywhere near Oscar this year so it’s great somebody rewarded him. The usual suspects like Giamatti and such can have their other awards, let Costner have his for a bit. He deserved it. Now if only Joan Allen could get some awards.
    And to anyone who thought Anger was too early, then I spose you have the same problem as the Academy.

  56. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Wreckturn may be correct. According to Variety, Viacom plans to spin off the live-action part of the DreamWorks library. The DreamWorks Animation titles (notably “Shrek” and “Shark Tale”) would stay with Viacom. I should have brought that up in an earlier post.
    The US press wasn’t alone in misreporting the sale; the BBC ID’d the buyer as Paramount instead of Viacom.

  57. jeffmcm says:

    The cinematography in Crash was actually pretty weak. I’m glad Camel agrees that it was preachy, too bad that you don’t think that’s a bad thing.
    And you are right: Napoleon D. _was_ 90 minutes of a loser being a loser. That’s why it was so good.
    (And I think the Hesses like and respect their characters much more than those in Crash).

  58. David Poland says:

    The DreamWorks library is being sold to non-Viacom investors.
    In theory, they could retain any of the titles. But they need the money for this deal to work at all.
    Nothing is in stone other than they need to raise at least $800 million to make the deal work. And the library isn’t worth even that.

  59. jeffmcm says:

    Who are ‘non-Viacom investors’?

  60. jeffmcm says:

    That was a stupid question. I mean, does this mean that the Dreamworks library is up for the highest bidder to any of the other studios? Or something completely different?

The Hot Blog

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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