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David Poland

By David Poland

Commenter Entry Of The Week

Jimmy The Gent started this conversation in another thread…
Here’s a fun question: What has been your most memorable summer at the movies?
For me, I think it’s a draw between 1986 and 1993. I was 7 going on 8 in 1986. You had: Top Gun, Hard Choices, Raw Deal (a guilty pleasure), Invaders From Mars, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Mona Lisa, The Manhattan Project, Back to School, The Karate Kid, Part II (another guilty pleasure), Ruthless People, Runniing Scared, Labyrinth, About Last Night…, Psycho III (an underrated movie), Big Trouble in Little China, Great Mouse Detective,
Aliens, Stand by Me, She’s Gotta Have It, Manhunter, The Fly, and Night of the Creeps. You also had so-bad-its-good stuff like Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Maximum Overdrive, Cobra, and Transformers: The Movie.
In 1993 I was 14 going on 15. That summer saw the release of: Much Ado About Nothing, American Heart, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Dave, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Carnosaur, Menace II Society, Cliffhanger, The Long Day Closes, The Music of Chance, What’s Love got To Do With It, Jurassic Park, Sleepless in Seattle, Jaquot, The firm, Rookie of the Year (a great baseball movie), In the Line of Fire, Poetic Justice (an uderrated movie), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (an underrated late-career Brooks with an early glimpse at Chappelle), So I Married an Axe Murderer (early Fat Bastard sighting), The Fugitive, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Heart and Souls (a great Downey performance), The Secret Garden, Manhattan Murder Mystery (a great Allen, a great portrait of marriage, and one of the lovliest showcases for NYC), King of the Hill, The Ballad of Little Jo, and Man Without a Face (a fascinating movie to examine in light of Gibson’s later directorial work).
Who’s next?

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57 Responses to “Commenter Entry Of The Week”

  1. Jimmy the Gent says:

    What’s yours Poland? Is it 1979, which saw the release of Alien, Dawn of the Dead, Rocky II, and The Warriors? 1980 saw Episode V, Airplane, Blues Brothers, Urban Cowboy, and Dressed to Kill. 1982 saw Rocky III, Star Trek II, E.T., Poltergeist, The Thing, Tron, and Blade Runner.

  2. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Crow T. Robot is the Man. 1994 was a pretty sweet summer. You also had Fear of a Black Hat, Crooklyn, Go Fish, Widows’ Peak, Wolf (a great Nicholson), Little Big League (a really good baseball movie), The Shadow (c’mon, who doesn’t wish this had caught on), Spanking the Monkey, It Could Happen to You, Barcelona, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Fresh, and Natural Born Killers. You also had guilty pleasures like Killing Zoe, Airheads (a HBO staple from the Summer of ’95), Blankman, You also Hilary Swank kicking ass in The Next Karate Kid.

  3. mattriviera says:

    I have fond memories of my summer of ’89. Tim Burton’s Batman made a huge impression on the teenager I was then, as did hits such as When Harry Met Sally, The Abyss and Dead Poets Society. But more importantly, it’s also the summer I discovered independent films: Do The Right Thing and Sex, Lies & Videotape turned me into a cinephile that year.
    I wasn’t born then, but if I’d been a teenager in 1969, that summer would surely have been an eye-opener: Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, The Wild Bunch, Midnight Cowboy, Medium Cool, Easy Rider and Take The Money & Run.

  4. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    When people say Robin Hood Men in Tights is an underrated film I worry about them and the children they’ll bring into this world. May God have mercy on all of us.
    79 has never been topped for this dinosaur.

  5. Jimmy the Gent says:

    To Jeffmcm:
    “Mickey Rourke” = theater scene in Diner.

  6. Jimmy the Gent says:

    To JBdoc:
    Men in Tights isn’t perfect but it has some laughs. Slapstick/parody comedies are rarely perfect. I think it was Kael that said a comedy that hits half its marks is a good one.

  7. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Jimmy baby – Men In Tights has one genuine laugh – Lewis’s traveling mole and guess what? Brook’s repeats the gag again in Life Stinks and guess what? its the only laugh in that film. And this is coming from the guy who wet his pants at the werewolf gag at the psychiatrists office in High Anxiety. It’s impossible to have a perfect parody because they are inherently subjective – however gag for gag, Top Secret for me is as close as they come.

  8. Jimmy the Gent says:

    You may speak the truth J B’s Doc. Top Secret! is great. I think I would take Airplane! as the best, though. The first Naked Gun is pretty sweet, too.

  9. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Seeing AIRPLANE! as a teen brought tears to my eyes and very few films have done that since. It doesn’t hold up as well for me as the Zuckers misguided but ultimately superior Top Secret as that film had the cojones to parody a genre that the majority of the paying under 25 audience hadn’t a handle on. Easy parody material like Top Gun becomes Hot Shots which deliver many gags (part 2 has some doozys as well) but they also have a familiar structure to work gags off – not so Top Secret which unfortunately bombed on release and prevented the team from ever really experimenting and being ambitious again.

  10. TheGaffer says:

    For me it’s certainly the summer of 1989, as I was 16 that year and remember loving Batman. But in addition to Batman, that year also had Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and I remember doing a doubleheader with When Harry Met Sally and The Abyss. The second BAck to the Future movie was out too, even though it’s the weakest of the three, and there was Ghostbusters II, Black Rain, Say Anything (which I didn’t see until cable) and Heathers (same), the War of the Roses (spent half the movie making out w/ my girlfriend at the time, although now that I think about that, it wasn’t the summer), and Pacino’s comeback in Sea of Love.

  11. abba_70s says:

    1981 as a pre-teen with Clash of the Titans and Superman II.
    1991 just for T-2 and (go ahead and laugh) Robin Hood.

  12. abba_70s says:

    Oh..I about 10 years ago with all that hype on ID4? Pretty silly movie but still…

  13. Tofu says:

    jeff was on the money with 1996.
    Whew… ’96 was unstoppable.
    All the talk about Demi Moore stripping AND doing a Disney movie, the flying cows, the Mission:Impossible soundtrack selling like hotcakes, Sean Connery back as a Dragon AND an action hero, Jim Carrey going ‘dark’, Arnie shooting stuff with big guns, Travolta still in full comeback mode, a little no-name movie called A Time To Kill, Eddie Murphy’s return, and of course…

  14. palmtree says:

    I’ll vouch for 1991. Not the best movies, but it seems like I saw all of them.
    T2, Robin Hood: Prince of Theives (Everything I do…..), City Slickers, Naked Gun 2 1/2, Backdraft, Hot Shots, What About Bob, The Rocketeer, Thelma and Louise, Point Break, Regarding Henry (written by JJ Abrams no less), Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey (any film that parodies Seventh Seal is okay for me), Jungle Fever.

  15. Blackcloud says:


  16. anghus says:

    Im with the 1989 Camp. 16 years old, and you have cool shit like Batman, Lethal Weapon 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, UHF (a flop of flops but i loved it), Do the Right Thing… this was a great Summer for movies.
    And 1993 was a good year as well. In the Line of Fire and The Fugitive… it makes me pine for the days when movies were made for adults.
    but to be technical… Back to the Future 2 and War of the Roses were holiday releases, not summer ones.
    Nitpicky, i know.

  17. TheGaffer says:

    1993 was indeed strong, as I remember. Both those 2 movies mentioned by Anghus were stellar action films for a smarter audience. Jurassic Park came out that year as well, and that was also the summer of True Romance, Dave, Wayne’s World 2, and the stellar Carlito’s Way.
    (On the downside there was also Last Action Hero and Demolition Man, two of the worst action films ever produced.)

  18. Dr Wally says:

    Yep, another vote for 1989 – Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, When Harry Met Sally, Lethal Waepon 2, The Abyss (albeit the truncated version), Dead Poets Society, and one of my all-time favourite movies, Field of Dreams. Man we had it good back then. That was the last year, really of the first-generation of blockbusters, movies designed to be entertaining first and marketed second. The following year, you got movies that seemed to be product first rather than good stories (Days of Thunder, Dick Tracy, Die Hard 2 etc.). A shout out too for 2002 – Spiderman, Minority Report, Road to Perdition, Signs, Insomnia, Sum of All Fears and the often unfairly maligned Episode 2 (the Anakin/Padme romantic claptrap is five minutes out of a 2.5 hour movie people! A million dollars minus a dollar is still a million dollars, and the last 45 minutes are still exhilirating on repeated viewing).

  19. Jeremy Smith says:

    Summer of 1984 was magic. Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Top Secret!, The Karate Kid, Red Dawn, Revenge of the Nerds, Bachelor Party, Purple Rain, Streets of Fire, Star Trek III, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The Last Starfighter, Dreamscape, Cloak and Dagger, and Clint Eastwood’s underappreciated Tightrope.

  20. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Jeremy Smith lists one of the most pop-saturated summers in modern movie history.
    I think we can say that the Summers of ’82, ’84, ’86, ’89, ’91, ’93, 96, and ’02 are the best. I’d like to nominated ’99 as another candidate. You had: Election, Episode I (remember that one), The Red Violin, Limbo, Run Lola Run, Austin Powers 2, South Park, Summer of Sam, American Pie, Arlington Road, Eyes Wide Shut, Blair Witch Project, Trick, Twin Falls Idaho, Dick, The Iron Giant, Adventures of Sebastian Cole, and, Mystery Men.

  21. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Where’s DP’s candidate?

  22. TheGaffer says:

    Jimmy the Gent, you’re missing one of the best ones from 1999 – the great Star Trek parody Galaxy Quest. What a terrific funny movie that is.

  23. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Galazy Quest came out during Christmas of that year.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    For me, 1975 ranks as the most important summer. And all because of one movie: “Jaws,” the first summer blockbuster of its kind. It opened everywhere on the same day — back when 460 screens qualified as a wide release — and forever changed the way movies are promoted and distributed. Also in theaters that summer: The French Collection II (an under-rated sequel, one of John Frankenheimer’s best movies), Nashville, Night Moves (a classic neo-noir), Aloha, Bobby and Rose (it actually opned in late April, was still around in June), Bite the Bullet and Breakheart Pass (a guilty pleasure).

  25. the keoki says:

    Let’s give ’99 some love! The Matrix was still playing when Summer kicked off. The Mummy, The Phantom Menace (Which I remember being packed everytime I went to see it, so someone must have liked it!), Blair Witch (The phenomenon and the movie to some extent) South Park, Austin Powers 2, Big Daddy, Deep Blue Sea (Just for Sam Jackson getting eaten), Eyes Wide Shut, Tarzan, The Sixth Sense, THE IRON FRIGGING GIANT!!!!, two somewhat decent Julia Roberts movies, and one of the coolest trailers ever for Fight Club. Even the crap was OK, American Pie, The Generals Daughter, The Thomas Crown Affair, Entrapment, The Haunting, and Bowfinger. That’s a pretty good summer. But damn if ’89 wasn’t super sweet too.

  26. THX5334 says:

    Jimmy –
    Please don’t ever call The Empire Strikes Back
    “Episode V”
    Thank You.

  27. anghus says:

    did you just call the Haunting a good movie?

  28. THX5334 says:

    ^^^^ No disrespect

  29. Jimmy the Gent says:

    None taken. It is what it is.
    He said it was tolerable crap, and it is. Ebert and Willmington gave it 3 stars. It’s shit, but handsomely made shit.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    So Ebert’s 3-star tolerance of garbage was in play even back 7 years ago.

  31. Jimmy the Gent says:

    It goes back even further than that. In the summer of ’87 Ebert gave 3 stars to Overboard. Can you blieve that. He gives the same rating to a routine Russell-Hawn comedy as he did RoboCop! That same summer he also gave Full Metal Jacket 2 1/2 stars…but let’s not start bringing up Ebert’s record. That can of worms should be saved for another thread.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Just as long as we all agree that De Bont’s The Haunting is a powerfully bad movie. Lili Taylor’s career has never fully rebounded.

  33. Nicol D says:

    Put me in for ’89.
    Batman, Lethal Weapon 2, License to Kill, Ghostbusters 2 , The Abyss, Casualties of War, Star Trek V, Dead Poets Society, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, When Harry Met Sally.
    One of the best! It seemed to be a time when Hollywood was on top of the blockbuster game and food tie ins with Subway made it all the richer!

  34. the keoki says:

    “Tolerable crap”. I like that. i just meant that ’99’s crap was a smidge better than some of the other summer’s crap. Poor poor Lili Taylor, she’s the only one from that movie that didn’t get fully back on her feet. And is Star Trek V any better than The Haunting?

  35. Josh Massey says:

    1989 was great – I was 13, and there were plenty of kid-friendly pics (my most-anticipated being, of course, “Batman,” with my eventual favorite being “Field of Dreams”).
    That said, Summer 1988 gave us two of my Top 10 favorite movies – “Die Hard” and “Midnight Run.” Along with “Coming to America,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Big,” “A Fish Called Wanda,” “Rambo III” (LOVED it at the time), “Bull Durham,” “Young Guns” and “Married to the Mob.”

  36. Josh Massey says:

    Ok, I just took a look at Boxofficemojo’s 1988 chart?
    HOW IN THE HELL did “Big Business,” “The Great Outdoors” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street 5” outgross “Midnight Run?”

  37. Josh Massey says:

    Sorry, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4.” The power of Renny Harlin…

  38. Joe Leydon says:

    Remember that next time someone starts trying to tell you that critics are out of tocuh, and that they should say nicer things about popular movies.
    BTW: “Pillow Talk” beat “The 400 Blows,” “Wild Strawberries” and “North By Northwest” for Best Original Screenplay in 1959. Go figure.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^A good reminder that critics today are no more out of touch than they were in the 1980s – who here really things that The Da Vinci Code will be especially warmly regarded 20 years from now, even with its massive worldwide gross?

  40. jesse says:

    I’m late to this discussion, but it’s a great topic so I’m going for it anyway.
    I’m sure this has more to do with when we were all young and movie-drunk and all that than actual quality of films. In light of that, I’d have to say summer of ’97 was the best “summer movie” season I’ve experienced (I was born in 1980). It ranks the highest because it had the greatest number of popcorn movies that really worked for me: The Fifth Element, The Lost World (it’s kind of underrated!), Con Air, Face/Off, Men in Black, and the somewhat more serious (also kind of underrated) Contact. Plus some fun late-summer trash like Mimic and Spawn. Put it this way: It was a good drive-in season.
    Yes, there was also Batman & Robin and Speed 2, but there have to be a couple of high-profile disasters in any summer.
    ’99 beats ’97 on pure quality: Ep1 (sorry haters, I like it!), The Sixth Sense, Mystery Men, Bowfinger, Blair Witch, Eyes Wide Shut, Iron Giant, South Park, Deep Blue Sea (seriously!)… but many of these don’t really fit the “big summer movie” aesthetic — they’re too good and too individualistic. Plus, ’99 was such a great year overall that giving it the “best summer” award seems beside the point. There was great stuff coming out pretty much the whole year.
    2002 is a strong challenger to ’97, not so much for depth of field but because the high points — Spiderman, Episode II, Minority Report, Lilo & Stitch, Signs — all delivered for me. That crop probably represents the best mix of entertainment and good filmmaking (with ’97 erring more on the side of popcorn and ’99 erring more on the side of quality).
    2001 is interesting because most of the big “summer” movies were lame or disappointing or overrated or, at bes,t kinda second-tier (Shrek, Planet of the Apes, Tomb Raider, Swordfish; I enjoy the unpretentious fun of The Mummy Returns, Jurassic Park III, and Rush Hour 2, but they’re all relatively uninspired sequels). However, the artier side of 2001 kicked ass: it was the summer of Moulin Rouge, Ghost World, and AI (highly underrated). Plus the barely-seen-then-but-cult-classic-now Wet Hot American Summer. I don’t know if summer has ever laid claim to more movies on my ten-best list than 2001.
    (Fine, that was kind of four answers.)

  41. brack says:

    since I’m in my early 20s, summers ’93 and ’94 were my most memorable, the earliest I really remember seeing movies in theaters was in ’88.

  42. frankbooth says:

    The summer of Jaws, the summer of Star Wars, and the summer of Empire. (Blue Velvet was released in September, so it doesn’t count. Besides we’re talking blockbusters.)
    Nothing else will ever come close. Some of the crap listed makes me feel bad for those posting.
    I know I sound like one of those cranky old guys saying “you had to be there” for Woodstock or the glory days of CBGB’s, but it’s true. The only recent movies that came close to making me feel twelve again in terms of anticipation were the Rings trilogy, and they were released at Christmas. Which is the next logical thread, I suppose.

  43. brack says:

    Screw that frankbooth, they should be jealous. I know I am.

  44. Geoff says:

    This has been a fun thread to read, especially since I worked at movie theaters from ’90 until ’96 and got to enjoy some of these summers, firsthand.
    No doubt the standouts for me are the summers where you had an abundance of quality entertainments for adults: ’88 (A Fish Called Wanda, Midnight Run, Die Hard; ’89 (Do the Right Thing, When Harry Met Sally); ’91 (Thelma and Louise, City Slickers, anybody remember Dead Again?!); ’93 (The Fugitive, In the Line of Fire, The Firm – very underrrated), and of couse ’99 (The Blair Witch Project, Eyes Wide Shut, Summer of Sam, SouthPark, Run Lola Run).
    But just for pure dumb summer fun, I think people have a short memory, here, because NO ONE has mentioned the summer of 2003. Lots of well-made, memorable cinematic junk food, that year – Matrix Reloaded (IMO, the best pure action film of the decade so far and very underrated), X2, The Italian Job, S.W.A.T., 2 Fast 2 Furious, and of course, Pirates of the Caribbean. People forget that the summer is first and foremost about fun and this summer had it in spades. Hell, it made the dreariness of The Hulk just that more apparent.
    Overall, 2003 was an exceptional year for movies, the best of the decade, probably. City of God, Lost in Translation, Master and commander, Return of the King, and even smaller gems like Shattered Glass.

  45. brack says:

    yeah, 2003 was a very good year. I actually liked Hulk, the only movie I really that summer was Bad Boys II , probably because the plot was mostly fantasy(killer ecstacy, pfft, c’mon), and a lot of the humor was mean spirited.

  46. brack says:

    I meant to say hated

  47. palmtree says:

    2003: Don’t forget about Finding Nemo. And any mention of 2003 being a good year should include Kill Bill vol. 1.

  48. Josh Massey says:

    Eh, “Kill Bill” was more of a spring flick.

  49. palmtree says:

    I said “any mention of 2003 being a good year,” not merely a good summer, in response to Geoff.

  50. jeffmcm says:

    Kill Bill 1 came out in Oct. 2003, KB2 in April 2004.

  51. bmcintire says:

    The summer of 1976 sticks out the most for me. Though it was bookended by two great and profoundly affecting (for me) television movies (Helter Skelter and Sybil) I remember it as the first summer that I spent going to movies with my friends

  52. Jimmy the Gent says:

    How come no love for the summers of ’90, 92, or 95? Let’s see what we had.
    1990: Back to the Future 3, Total Recall, Dick Tracy (Pacino rules), Gremlins 2, Days of Thunder (Duvall rules) die Hard 2 (when Harlin ruled), Ghost (we all cried), Quick Change, The Freshman (Brando rules and should’ve been nominated), Arachnophobia (Goodman rules), Presumed Innocent, Young Guns 2, Mo’ Better Blues, Metropolitan, Flatliners (Bacon rules), The Two Jakes (an underrated movie), Wild at Heart, Pump Up the Volume, Darkman, and After Dark My Sweet.
    1992: Poison Ivy, One False Move, The Waterdance, Alien3 (Fincher’s most underrated), Sister Act (it’s fun), HouseSitter, Batman Returns (c’mon we all saw it), Unlawful Entry (great showcases for Russell and Liotta), Boomerang (early Rock and Lawrence), Cool World (early Pitt), Death Becomes Her (Zemeckis growing pains), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Enchanted April, Unforgiven, Johnny Suede, The Living End, Diggstown, Single White Female, Laws of Gravit, Light Sleeper (a great Scheader), and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
    1995: A Little Princess, My Family, Crimson Tide, Forget Paris, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Braveheart, Little Odessa, Tales from the Hood (underrated), The Bridges of Madison County, Smoke, Batman Forever, Congo (a guilty pleasure), Il Postino, Apollo 13, Safe, Species, Nine Months (Moore, Williams, ang Grant’s smgness save it), Kids, Under Seige 2 (a great knife fight), Clueless, Living in oblivion, Babe, Something to Talk About (an underrated Roberts performance), Virtuosity (c’mon Crowe rules in this), Unzipped, A Walk in the Clouds, Desperado, and The Usual Suspects.
    Interesting off summers.

  53. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I have 2 great summer years and both are in the megaplex era.
    2003 was a great import year:
    L’Auberge Espagnole (a hit in NYC, a stiff elsewhere)
    Johnny English (better than its reputation)
    Swimming Pool (good summer upmarket fare — should have gone mainstream)
    Le Divorce (Merchant Ivory go 21st century — and Fox released it in the US)
    The Magdalene Sisters (even non-Irish will take to it)
    2000 was the great domestic year:
    Road Trip (cool trailer)
    Small Time Crooks (see it all the way to the end)
    Shanghai Noon (Six-Gun Theatre meets Kung-Fu Theatre)
    Big Momma’s House (should not have had a sequel)
    Gone in 60 Seconds (obvious)
    The Perfect Storm (1st trailer sold me on this)
    Scary Movie (dead-on then, dead-on now)
    But I’m a Cheerleader (a hoot!)
    Space Cowboys (played into October — would have been a hit in any year)
    Plus Chicken Run (iffy for me until the “C:R1” trailer) and Saving Grace as import pleasures.

  54. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Craig Fergusen is the man.
    1995 was also a great summer on the radio. You had TLC’s best song (“Waterfalls”), Coolio’s “Fantastic Voyage” and “Gangsta’s Paradise,” Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa,” Dr. Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringing” from Friday, and Counting Crows one good album.

  55. Jimmy the Gent says:

    Who wants to take bets on DP’s most memorable summer? He was born in 196 si I say the summer of ’79 or ’80. Maybe ’81. He loves Stripes.

  56. Geoff says:

    You know, ’98 was not a bad summer, though no one has talked about it. I think it gets a bum rap, probably because all people can remember are the highly grossing crapfests that are Godzilla, Deep Impact, and Armageddon.
    Despite those, there was some very strong programming for adults, as well.
    I happen to think that Saving Private Ryan was overrated, but The Truman Show and Out of Sight still hold up as modern classics.
    Besides them, you have a slew of strong entertainments – The Negotiator (should have been better, given the pairing of Spacey and Jackson, but still), The Mask of Zorro, There’s Something About Mary, and the underrated Blade.
    There’s still the stench of Armageddon, Godzilla, and The Avengers to diminish the summer, overall, but just to give some props.

  57. Geoff says:

    You know, ’98 was not a bad summer, though no one has talked about it. I think it gets a bum rap, probably because all people can remember are the highly grossing crapfests that are Godzilla, Deep Impact, and Armageddon.
    Despite those, there was some very strong programming for adults, as well.
    I happen to think that Saving Private Ryan was overrated, but The Truman Show and Out of Sight still hold up as modern classics.
    Besides them, you have a slew of strong entertainments – The Negotiator (should have been better, given the pairing of Spacey and Jackson, but still), The Mask of Zorro, There’s Something About Mary, and the underrated Blade.
    There’s still the stench of Armageddon, Godzilla, and The Avengers to diminish the summer, overall, but just to give some props.

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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.”
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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