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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Tony gets a bony in Movie Club: logrolling in our Times

There will be time to read the rest of A.O. Scott’s Thursday Movie Club contribution, but it does open with a forbidding hedge of gentlemen-well-met that would not be out of place over premium beers after a Manhattan evening screening:
“I’m agog at the range and erudition of the three previous posts, which I don’t hope to match. I would happily spend the next week—the next six months—studying and annotating Jonathan’s list. Reading it reminded me of why I love your books, Jonathan—”Essential Cinema: Of the Necessity of Film Canons” is the one I’ve been reading most recently. It is possible, in the book as in that roster of 24 movies, with its witty juxtapositions and exemplary cosmopolitanism, to discover not just a universe or two of taste and sensibility but also portals that lead into politics, spirituality, and every conceivable realm of human experience. Which is what movies are uniquely and almost miraculously able to offer, but perhaps too rarely deliver.
el jonathan.jpg
In fact, I did scroll down a little, and I like this: “…DVD and other technologies have, potentially and in fact, liberated cinephilia from the parochial confines of New York and a scattering of college towns. We are approaching an almost Borgesian situation in which a global, virtual cinematheque will be available at the spin of an iPod wheel or the click of a mouse. The softness of the domestic box office and the looming possibility of “day and date” home video and theatrical releases have been discussed mostly in terms of potential effects on the movie industry. A corollary question that has not been raised sufficiently is what effect the eclipse of theatrical exhibition and the proliferation of available titles for home consumption will have on film culture.” [Much more from the panel at the link; the Scott pic is from the Times, the Rosenbaum from this Argentinian movie site.]

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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