Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Disaster Kits: UNITED 93 and POSEIDON

In a review of Poseidon, Michaeal Atkinson of the Village Voice suggests that this movie – like War of the Worlds – will go over better outside of big cities.
I wouldn’t lump War of the Worlds in with 70s-style shlock.
I thought Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film was three quarters a masterpiece of apocalyptic horror and one-quarter sentimental crap. (I’m talking to you, teenage-son-who-wouldn’t-die) And if there had been another shot looking up the Martians rosy-pink snack baskets, I would have been carried out of the theater, having laughed myself into a coma.)
And what a relief that would have been. I used to live in Brooklyn, with a decent view of midtown and lower Manhattan. I recall no exhiliration whatsoever on 9-11, not on that day, not for days afterward.
Right now Poseidon and other forthcoming filmed excuses to watch shit blow up real good aren’t on my list of must-see movies.
Atkinson writes (and I agree), “A supposedly fun thing I may never want to do again after 9-11, disaster films are simple death porn, and the easy wow factor of fireballs, massive explosions, flying bodies, and architectural obliteration on a large scale is, or should be, no longer a gimme.”
As a friend and neighbor said when we heard about Oliver Stone’s plans for his World Trade Center/firefighter-rescue movie, “Why should anyone be surprised or say it’s too soon? People will make movies about anything. But I’m pretty sure I saw this movie already, and I didn’t much like it the first time.”

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3 Responses to “Disaster Kits: UNITED 93 and POSEIDON”

  1. anthony says:

    Hey Justine, I agree. Much to some people’s disagreement, I took a similar tact looking at “United 93”: http://www.alternet.org/movies/35395/

  2. Thanks, Anthony. I read your essay. Interesting that the first blast of responses to any mention of UNITED 93, the movie, is from the conspiracy theorists.

  3. BangBus says:

    Keep up the good work with this threads bro 🙂

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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