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David Poland

By David Poland

The Race For Drudge!

Wonder why Box Office Mojo is suddenly leaping to posting earlier in the day on the weekends and coming out with Memorial Day Weekend Saturday estimates?
Wonder why Roger Friedman And Nikki Finke are making the same title mistake in their box office coverage that includes “Star War – Attack of the Sith?” (That would be Revenge… the clones Attacked)
Well, it all seems to come down to the race for Matt Drudge’s attention.
There is no other news kicker like Drudge. If he links, your numbers go up. In the cases of all of these players, Drudge creates the chance to reach beyond the film industry. Box Office Mojo has a strong core business, but it has boundaries, since only a small percentage of the world cares about box office numbers. A Drudge link brings in civilians who see ads and more pages views equals more money. Roger Friedman is a lowlife gossip. My estimate would be that a Drudge link – which also has the advantage of being a real link and not just a quote, a la Page Six – multiplies his audience on that day by five to ten times. And Ms. Finke, who has given up any pretense of being a journalist to become a professional gadfly, probably owes more than a third of her total traffic in the three months her site has been in business to a half dozen or so links on Drudge.
For better or worse, Mr. Drudge has refused to link to any site I have been associated with since I wrote an Entertainment Weekly story about him and the Sidney Blumenthal lawsuit a decade ago. Of course, I was just a reporter working News & Notes and being shaped by editors. But with the exception of a couple of times when he decided to send his minions against me to shut me up about some opinion he considered too left wing, not a noise since.
Being stuck behind this wall is not helpful to me or my business. But this latest go round in the Drudge placement game is not about me, any more than being against test screening reviews was about me. It is, simply, the ugly incursion of capitalism into the idea of independent editorial on the internet. It’s not new. But the lie of it is fresh.
When I started writing this, Drudge hadn

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123 Responses to “The Race For Drudge!”

  1. Josh Massey says:

    How can people put their byline on copy they didn’t even write? The striking similarities in their leads goes beyond a “race for Drudge.” Who is plagiarizing who, or are both of them plagiarizing the same source?
    Roger Friedman:
    “‘X Men 3: The Last Stand’ took in almost $45 million on Friday and landed in the history books. It is now the second highest opener of all time, right behind ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Sith.'”
    Nikki Finke:
    “20th Century Fox’s X-Men 3 opened record-breaking big in U.S. markets, earning a staggering $44.1 million just on Friday making it the second highest opener of all time right behind Star Wars: Attack of the Sith.”
    That’s not a coincidence.

  2. Blackcloud says:

    That would be academic dishonesty if one of my students did it.
    I don’t expect any kind of accuracy from Friedman, but I was pretty surprised when I saw that Finke had the exact same error. Uncanny, really. But unlike with the X-Men, not in a good way. Someone looks awfully stupid here, I’m just not sure who.

  3. Martin S says:

    I like Drudge for what he’s accomplished, but I can’t argue with that take, Dave. The Breitbart thing is bizarre. Matt’s problem is he takes his professional acumen cue from Rush – which means he’ll personally implode someday.

  4. Blackcloud says:

    At least he doesn’t link to Jeff Wells, either. Or does he?

  5. jeffmcm says:

    He does! Horrors.
    I was pretty sure that there were links to Movie City News and DP the last time I went to Drudge’s site, but I have no idea how many months, if not years ago, that was.

  6. Joe Leydon says:

    Conisder yourself lucky, Dave. A few weeks back, Drudge linked to my Variety review of the Al Franken documentary (“And God Spoke”). I don’t have to tell you how many frothing mouth-breathers sent me hate mail, do I?
    The weird thing: The review was not exactly an unqualified rave. In fact, it was categorized as unfavorable on the Roten Tomeatoes site. But I guess it would have had to be a scorched-earth pan to be acceptable to Drudge readers.

  7. Josh Massey says:

    … And yet Drudge so far isn’t reporting the death of Paul Gleason, which is definitely a bigger story than Cannes (or at least it should be).

  8. EDouglas says:

    What annoys me about Nikki Finke…and mind you, I know nothing him/her or his/her background… is that he/she posts a lot of hearsay and numbers that really are nothing but someone guestimating how much a movie might do (same can be said for Jeffrey Wells). I trust Box Office Mojo more than any of the other gossip columnists who have decided to get into the box office game in recent months.

  9. prideray says:

    Mr. Wells has been “permalinked” at Drudge for as long as I can remember.

  10. Blackcloud says:

    Yeah, I totally forgot about that. I had meant that he doesn’t link to his stories the way he does those of Finke. I was wrong. Sorry.

  11. THX5334 says:

    Oh Nikki, Nikki, Nikki.
    How the mighty have fallen.
    You used to be soooo classy. A smart commentator that understood the game, and knew how to call ’em out on it.
    Now you’re just a page count whore who has lost all sense of integrity.
    I used to hold you in high esteem. So disappointed that you lowered yourself to Friedman’s level.
    And here I thought I was making an improvement by changing one of my homepage tabs (I have several – yeah Mozilla!) from Jeff Wells to you.
    I am now reconsidering that decision.
    Oh who am I kidding! Anyone’s better than Wells!

  12. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^^100% agree with that last sentence.

  13. tfresca says:

    I know Dave doesn’t like Wells but I’m a real fan of his site. I’ve followed him over the years and while it’s not as good as it was when he was really connected it’s still pretty entertaining to read. I really dug Finke back when she was a flame thrower at LA Weekly, her stuff on the Disney trial kicked ass, she’s gone soft with her blog. She also doesn’t actually want people to comment on her stories.

  14. THX5334 says:

    My biggest problem with Wells (and I hope he’s reading this) is that he is the
    quintessential King of posting spoilers without warning in his columns.
    And you know what irks me the most about it?
    He does it clearly just to brag or validate that he’s seen the film early. It just reeks of insecurity.
    Maybe he and Spaceshiek are one and the same?

  15. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not just insecurity, it’s arrogance, that his (Wells’s) viewing experience is more important than yours. He is an awful human being.

  16. RDP says:

    “And yet Drudge so far isn’t reporting the death of Paul Gleason, which is definitely a bigger story than Cannes (or at least it should be).”
    As I write this, MCN is prematurely posting the death of Paul Dooley rather than the death of Paul Gleason.
    I don’t know what DP has against Dooley. This isn’t the first time he’s declared him dead (the first time was in a review of “Insomnia”, I believe).

  17. Spacesheik says:

    THX1138 –
    I posted 1 comment – without a spoiler – concerning an X character – that suddenly makes me Jeffrey Wells?
    For Fuck’s sakes man, I apologized in the other forum for it, it’s not something I usually do (offer plot points without spoilers).
    You people need to switch to decaf seriously.

  18. Nicol D says:

    I’ve never quite understood why people get so pissy over the spoiler thing. Especially on websites like this where many people are either in the industry, from film school or want to be in the industry.
    If someone wants to understand the genesis of how a movie gets made, and follows the film from conception to production, it is pretty much imperative to read spoilers and understand why decisions are made, who made them, and why.
    Funny how some people, and I am speaking in generalities here, who will say ‘it’s only fiction’ or ‘it’s only a movie’ in some circumstances are the first to flip a wing nut over being told that Bruce Banner is the Hulk in another.
    As for Wells, I find him to be one of the better film writers. He’s blunt and honest about his opinions and more often than not, he is right.
    I also like that he will not let his personal political biases get in the way of whether or not a film is good. That’s rarer to find than most people want to believe. He’s also damn funny.
    Finke I have only read a few times recently in the past months and she seems like nothing more than a shill for the studios…a vessel through which they can get their info out.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, there may be a lot of pros and aspiring filmmakers here, but there are almost certainly even more mere film fans who are purely interested in the unsullied film-viewing experience. Sure, they should be careful what they read, but there’s no reason to make things harder for them/us.
    As for Wells, he’s one of the worst. Not only he is a bad writer with very weak critical opinions, but he seems to be of very poor character. I guess it makes sense that you would like him.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    (Because you and I disagree 80% of the time…not because you’re a bad writer with weak opinions and poor character…necessarily).

  21. THX5334 says:

    Sorry shiek, I missed the apology in the other thread.
    Nicol – you’ve written some smart observations before, this is the first time it feels like you’re really reaching for it.
    And you’re making trite of the kind of spoiler’s people like Wells and Shiek pull! Which is –
    Revealing the deaths of major characters in an established franchise!
    I’m sorry – but revealing without warning – that major characters established from TWO FILMS get killed in the first act of the third film
    of an established franchise….
    This is a much more egregious offense of than finding out ‘Bruce Banner is the Hulk’
    You can argue bullshit that it is imperative to read spoilers so people need to understand how decisions are made in the process, blah, blah, blah – WTF? Are you kidding me? I’m pretty sure 98% of the audience of this blog are either working in this game or are connected in some way – and understand the politics and machinations of this industry quite fine without the need to reveal major plot points of the story.
    We are talking about this blog and not Aint it Cool or Hollywood Elsewhere.
    I say that it takes very little time and energy to type “SPOILER WARNING” before one feels the need to reveal the story element, and give the reader a choice.
    Here let me show you:
    See, Nicol, that’s not too hard is it? I think it took me about five seconds to bang out.
    It’s a simple matter of class and manners, man.
    It’s disappointing that you’re missing that distinction.

  22. Nicol D says:

    Do not take what I said to be a personal attack on you. That’s why I said I was speaking in generalities. It was certainly not meant to be personal.
    Nevertheless, as someone who has spent the better part of his life in a darkened room or theatre watching movies, I never understood why people care about spoilers.
    My personal philosophy is that ‘how’ movies are about what they are about is more important than the subject matter itself.
    That is what leads films to repeat viewings and greatness. I knew the ending to T2 after the first time I saw it but that didn’t stop me from seeing it over and over again because I loved what was there.
    Similarly, the ending of the final Matrix film may have been new to me but once was enough because I did not believe the quality to be there.
    If films can only live or die based on any surprises contained within, that does not make for a film that will last in my opinion.
    Nevertheless, as you might have noticed, I actually have never revealed spoilers unless of course it is for something I have absolutely no respect for coughcoughDavinciCodecoughcough.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    But you recognize that most mere mortals prefer to experience a story without necessarily knowing what’s coming next, right? You sound awfully removed from the standard pleasures of narrative.

  24. Nicol D says:

    “…mere mortals…”
    You’re the one who says you’re better than me Jeff and questions my character. Not the other way around.
    “You sound awfully removed from the standard pleasures of narrative.”
    I saw an interview with Sting once and Larry King asked him what music he liked. Sting winced and said he could barely listen to music at all because it was painful. He had spent so much of his time analyzing music and deconstructing sounds that he had arrived at a place that even elevator music sounded like torture.
    Now, I am not sayin I am Sting…but I could relate to that.
    I still enjoy plenty of films to be sure, but when you get to a place where you can predict the ending of M$B based on the trailer…yeah I am a hard customer.

  25. palmtree says:

    I agree that movies should hold up under repeat screenings, but that does not have anything to do with spoilers. X3 is the third in a continuity, meaning that having anticipation regarding what will happen is part of the fun of going to see it. Sure, the movie should hold up even if spoiled, but part of the fun was lost.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    ‘”…mere mortals…”
    You’re the one who says you’re better than me Jeff and questions my character. Not the other way around.”
    And yet all my words seem to have no avail on you to behave in a less arrogant manner. Better keep trying.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    Please note, I only think _you_ are of poor character. I don’t think I’m superior to everyone on the blog, as you have suggested of yourself.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    But it’s too nice of a Memorial Day to bicker. Have a good one and best wishes.

  29. THX5334 says:

    Jeff – We seem to disagree on Casper (there really does seem to be no middle ground with that one) but we definitely agree on Wells.
    Nicol – I appreciate the response, and did not take it personally. But I just don’t get how fucking hard it is for anyone on the web that loves or respects both movies and his/her fellow human beings, to type – “Spoiler Warning” – before they type the sentence that reveals story elements others might not want to know about before a movie opens, or during opening weekend.
    It’s just not that hard. And it doesn’t take that much effort. Nikki Finke did it recently in one of her Da Vinci code columns!
    For all those out there that feel the need to spoil interesting plot points or story elements in a movie or other content – just to prove you are somehow cool or connected and got to experience said content before the rest of us…
    It’s just – not – that – hard – to type:
    SPOILER WARNING before you have to show the rest of us you are cool and got to see the flick early.
    That is ALL I am asking for. Fuck.
    And for all those reading that have committed such offenses and most likely will again with no afterthought; to alay some mass insecurity (I am looking at you Jeff Wells and Nikki Finke) –
    Print out the following and post it on your fridge:
    You are a great human being. You are loved by many, and somewhere in the world you are in the cool crowd. There. You’re now validated…
    Now you should feel no more need to go and prove your worth, by rubbing it to the rest of us you got to see something early. And proving it by revealing something essential.
    Thank God Empire wasn’t made today. No fucking way would you ever get to have that emotional experience of hearing “No. I am your father” with a mass audience and share in that reactive surprise. Those days are gone.
    I am so glad I am old enough that I got to live that moment.

  30. Wrecktum says:

    Traditional Hollywood cinema distinguishes itself historically from other forms of narrative fiction by its adherence to the very familiar three-act story arc. It is the framework that the industry has relied upon for the past century.
    Because the story arc is such a critical component of the study of American film, it is critical that the narrative of any given film be unknown before that film is viewed. In Hollywood narrative, prior knowledge of a film’s story, no matter how insipid or redundant that story may be, robs the filmmakers of the primary tool in their artistic arsenal.
    So, for me, it’s vital that I watch all movies as spoiler free as possible.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    I must admit I never had a class with Casper…it’s all hearsay for me, but I was revulsed by what I heard.

  32. Jimmy the Gent says:

    What part of M$B did you figure out from the trailer? That Swank would die, or that she would become a crip and that Eastwood would kill her? I had a feeling something bad was going to happen, but didn’t guess until I was watching the movie what was going to happen.

  33. Josh Massey says:

    Very well said, THX and Wrecktum.

  34. James Leer says:

    Wait, there was a conversation about Casper and I missed it?

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Drew Casper, overrated Alfred & Alma Hitchcock Professor of film (Critical Studies) at USC? Just that he’s more bad than good, in my opinion, though I’ve never taken a class by him.

  36. Nicol D says:

    Jimmy The Gent,
    Regarding M$B, one of the problems I have with modern Hollywood on an ideological level is that the stories have become predictable.
    In the original trailer for M$B they show Eastwood bowing down to say his nightly prayers at the foot of his bed underneath a crucifix.
    In the modern era of film (ie post 1968) no character in a Hollywood film will explicitly be shown to be Catholic unless he is the villain or his/her’s Catholicism is an obstacle they need to overcome. There are very few exceptions to this rule.
    Eastwood is my favourite actor and one of my favourite directors. I’ve studied him quite a bit. On a personal level he is a libertarian of the right. The odds are he would not be showing the character as a villain; so the ‘faith’ becomes the obstacle.
    Given the sport was boxing, I assumed that some injury would come into play. The way this would relate to his faith would be with the issue of euthanasia.
    When the first screening reports said people were coming out of the room crying and the film got shifted from a mid winter release up to Oscar season, my suspicions were confimed.
    That of course feeds into why I do not mind spoilers. Rarely does a spoiler give away something that geuninely surprises me; at least on an ideological level.
    M$B has some excellent elements to it but it is not the masterpiece people wanted it to be. I find much of Eastwood’s modern films (post Unforgiven) to be a tad overrated while his pre-Unforgiven films to be very underrated.
    Bronco Billy is very poignant and Josey Wales also has aged very well. I also thought White Hunter Black Heart got a short shrift. We won’t discuss The Rookie.
    He has always been a very minimalist director in the style of a John Ford. I think people are just noticing him more now becuase he stands out in the midst of the ‘youth flash’ and he has softened his ideology somewhat.
    Anyway…he is still perhaps the greatest living cinema icon right now in my opinion and I can’t wait for Flags.
    I do not disagree with you in theory but this also requires that Hollywood filmakers actually keep trying to suprise us with different stories told through different POV’s and with different protagonists and antoagonists.
    Because they do not, to me they rob themselves of this element of surprise.

  37. Josh Massey says:

    Your Sherlock-style deconstruction of the “Million Dollar Baby” trailer reminds me of a “Simpsons” quote about gifts of deduction…
    “I simply cannot allow you to waste them here when there are so many crimes going unsolved at this very moment. Go! Go! For the good of the city!”

  38. Stella's Boy says:

    You thought Catholicism was an obstacle for Eastwood to overcome in M$B Nicol? I thought his character was a proud and devout Catholic who was struggling greatly with his faith. But maybe I’m remembering it incorrectly. For someone who claims to not be Catholic, you devote an awful lot of time and effort to defending Catholicism.

  39. Spacesheik says:

    THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976) is one of the best movies ever made. Excellent drama. Hell of a western with a great cast: Chief Dan George and John Vernon are standouts (the latter especially effective as a villain with many layers).
    Starts off as a revenge western and develops into a social western revolving around a band of misfits trying to create their own commune before finally coming full circle into a classic western featuring renegade confederate soldiers and gunfighters.
    John Vernon never did get the career he deserved and is primarily known as the ANIMAL HOUSE College Dean but he was memorable in this.
    Brilliant film.

  40. James Leer says:

    JeffMCM, how can you call Casper overrated if you’ve never even taken a class from the man? Better to recuse yourself from the conversation. Casper’s Hitchcock class was among the best times I had at USC.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    I know it sounds like a foolish idea, but everything i heard about the man made him sound like a pompous, arrogant, self-promoting academic leech, so I’m stick with it.
    I see that Nicol never saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose, in which it was the atheism of the character played by Laura Linney that was the ‘problematic’, needing-to-be-overcome aspect of her character. So you see, Hollywood plays both sides of the card and isn’t as commited to anti-Catholicism as he would like to believe in his paranoid delusions.

  42. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, Jeff, Nicol raises a valid point. In the overwhelming majority of movies made during the past 30 years, deeply religious people are depicted exclusively as hypocrites, fascists, and/or tiresome party-poopers. Mind you, I’m a lapsed Catholic who’s pretty much a pagan, but even I find this stereotyping to be silly. In my own life, I know religious people who are, truly, the salt of the earth. But you very rarely see them depicted that way in movies (except, of course, for movies made by and for Evangelicals and Mormons). But Nicol: I would argue that “Million Dollar Baby” actually is an excpetion to that rule — it’s one of the few films in recent memory to present an admirable person who seriously grapples with matters of faith of God. To my mind, his Catholicism is treated with respect, not derision.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    You’re right, Joe, the stereotyping gets old after a while. And I agree with you about MDB, too. It’s a movie about struggle, not mockery or belittlement.

  44. Cadavra says:

    Several years ago, Casper was invited to introduce a screening of the newly-restored ALL THAT JAZZ at the Motion Picture Academy. He yammered on for more than 20 minutes, speaking to the audience as though he were lecturing his students, and gave away virtually every surprise in the picture. People were clapping, booing, shouting, doing anything they could to signal him to get the hell off and start the film, but he was absolutely oblivious. People still speak of that night in hushed tones.

  45. THX5334 says:

    Wow Jeff, that takes a lot of balls to openly admit to judging someone or something without any personal interaction or experience. I am drowning in the irony of the pompousness you’re displaying right now.
    Let me tell you something about Drew Casper. What you call pompous about his teaching, anyone else who has actually TAKEN one of his classes would call passionate.
    That guy brings in a lot of money to that film school, and while there are many that find his personality abrasive (because he likes to be theatrical in his teaching?) – I don’t think anyone in the knowing would argue his academic validity.
    For one, the guy spent a long time on the anti- Lucas train. Then at the behest of the dean, he composed and taught the first class on Lucas offered at the school. After doing his research and learning how much Lucas has had an effect on this industry apart and away from his films, he did a 180 and now holds a lot of respect for Lucas (though he doesn’t like all of his films to be sure) Now, does that sound like an arrogant, pompous self promoting leech? Someone who is willing to change their opinon when presented with new information?
    And on a personal note about the “pompous, arrogant, self-promoting academic leech” known as Drew Casper:
    It was my first semester at USC film school. I had taken Casper’s Hitchcock class (before he got the chair) and wanted to take a summer class he was teaching on Spielberg, Scorcese and Levinson. It was a four unit class. My financial aid would only apply to a six unit class. So I didn’t have the money to take the class and wasn’t going to get the financial aid. When I told Casper the situation, and said I wasn’t going to be able to take the class – Casper didn’t blink and just whipped out a paper and signed a note saying I was doing 2 units worth of Directed Research for him so I could get my six units and get my aid.
    In short, Casper gave me two free units of education (worth about $10,000 at the time I believe) and got my financial aid to go through so I could take his class.
    So excuse me Jeff, if in my moment of defense at your incredulous innacurate and hypocritical take
    on Dr. Drew Casper – I extend a hearty
    “Fuck You”
    (Judging him without ever taking his class is akin to when Jeff Wells wrote his review of 8 Legged Freaks after only watching 8 minutes. Nice level to lower yourself to.)
    Nothing Personal

  46. jeffmcm says:

    “For one, the guy spent a long time on the anti- Lucas train. Then at the behest of the dean, he composed and taught the first class on Lucas offered at the school. After doing his research and learning how much Lucas has had an effect on this industry apart and away from his films, he did a 180 and now holds a lot of respect for Lucas (though he doesn’t like all of his films to be sure) Now, does that sound like an arrogant, pompous self promoting leech? Someone who is willing to change their opinon when presented with new information?”
    No, that sounds like a hypocrite who has been bought off. The Lucas class is a really shameless example of sucking up to a wealthy patron and, while I can’t argue that it helps keep USC the leading film school in the nation, it’s kind of sad at the same time.
    Anyway, I don’t see any reason to change my stance on the man, I’m just sorry I don’t have any first-hand info to counter you with. If it helps, I can tell you that television instructor Ed O’Neill is a prime asshole, AND I had a class with him.

  47. THX5334 says:

    There you go again Jeff, judging without any real firsthand experience. Now who’s the hypocrite again?
    Anyone that sat in that first Lucas class knows he wasn’t bought off. God you are soooooo reaching for it.
    Oooh they’re so shameless for teaching a class on their most famous alumni 25 years after he became huge!
    Next thing you know USC will be hooking up with CBS and doing a “100 Most inspirational Film Moments” special.
    By God man, what is the emotional need to judge someone and stick to your guns when you have no real first hand info? What sinking ship to cling to.

  48. jeffmcm says:

    Hey, I’ll admit to being under-informed, but my opinion is not coming out of nowhere. I knew several people who took his classes who did not care for the man or his style at all.
    If you’re so sure you’re right, just let the argument and and let me fester in my own little world and that’ll be the end of the discussion.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    that first ‘and’ should be ‘end’.

  50. THX5334 says:

    I am down for just agreeing to disagree.
    But I guess what got to me more was the idea of somebody (You) just going ahead and forming an opinon of someone else they don’t know, purely based on other people’s opinons.
    Just in general principle, the idea of judging another person with no firsthand experience, and then trying to make an informed opionon about it is not cool.
    In terms of emotional intelligence, it’s retarded.
    As a human being, it’s definitley a solid character defect you got going there. But I guess it could be a lot worse.
    At least we agree on Wells.

  51. jeffmcm says:

    Well, neither you or I have ever met Wells, so how can either of us have opinions about him?
    All I know about Casper is what I’ve gathered from other students and a couple of fleeting interactions on campus. I wasn’t trying to argue anything beyond that (and I don’t really care that much anyway – the USC Critical Studies department is pretty weak as a whole.)
    Best wishes.

  52. Nikki Finke says:

    This may be the first, or second, time I’ve ever commented here. Oh well, here goes: today someone emailed David’s latest rant about me. Very amusing. But I do wish to respond to this: the hilarity of David claiming I’m a right-winger. On what planet? I’m as lefty as they come and that’s amply expressed in my columns. But I also have to ask: why in the world does he care so much about what I write or don’t write? I’m genuinely sorry he resents my puny website. Well, here’s my advice: don’t read it! No one’s got a gun to David’s head. If so, let him live to rant another day.
    Best, Nikki.

  53. THX5334 says:

    How do you know I’ve never met Wells?
    “and I don’t really care that much anyway – the USC Critical Studies department is pretty weak as a whole.”
    Between that statement and your take on Postmodernism, I am really curious as to where you garnered your knowledge that makes you feel you are so superior to USC’s entire critical studies department?
    And you say Casper is pompous??
    What up Nikki!

  54. jeffmcm says:

    Have you met Wells? How many showers did that take to feel clean after?
    I learned a lot more from my undergrad professors about film theory and criticism than I did from three USC professors who I’ll name if you want. They seemed to be smart people, but very poor instructors, except Ed O’Neill, who as I said is an idiot. I had a good experience with one professor, David James. But seriously, you must realize that USC is strong in production, not in criticism/theory.
    The fact that they didn’t seem to be able to teach what ‘post-modernism’ in film is, does not help your argument. Please be aware I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you beyond the fact that you’ve been ill-informed.

  55. Joe Leydon says:

    THX: People make judgments about professors they have never met all the time. They do so by logging on to one of various websites (Pick-a-Prof, etc.) devoted to posting evaluations of professors by other students. I recently checked one out, and found that, apparently, I don’t bathe regularly. No kidding.
    Incidentally, I have to agree: David calling Nikki a rightie is almost willfully obtuse on his part. And I’m not saying this just because Nikki is a hottie. When we worked together on a paper in Dallas, it was not uncommon to see priests rip off their collars and throw themselves at her feet on the street.

  56. THX5334 says:

    You are avoiding the question:
    Where did you go in your undergrad that makes you feel that it had a superior film theory program?
    I took a Friday morning 9am film theory class my senior year taught by Manhola Dargis. But I’m sure whoever taught you film theory is of a higher caliber than she.
    Fact is, USC criital studies – save for Casper and Boyd has a pretty strong rotation of expert faculty and adjunct professionals. The fact that as a production grad, you’re basing your judgements on the quality of the program is again – shortsighted. That’s like me judging the production program on my cinema 290 class when they were still shooting on Super 8. You my friend, are not only being elitist, but naive.
    Again, I’ll type it in caps so you can’t miss (*coughavoidcough*) the question:
    I can’t wait to hear.

  57. jeffmcm says:

    Williams College, Williamstown, Mass. Professors Jim Shepard, Shawn Rosenheim, Steven Tifft, Carsten Strathausen, Lynda Bundtzen. I was never avoiding anything. You didn’t ask a clear question.
    Dargis is a good critic, but writing and teaching are two different things.
    You’re correct that I’m basing my opinion only on what I know from the classes that I took and other students that I know. So?

  58. jeffmcm says:

    This has gotta be boring everyone else out there. I’ll give you my email address if you want to take this outside, so to speak.

  59. THX5334 says:

    Jeffmcm, very original second avoidance. We both know you answering that question here in a public forum is going to nullify your entire position, and is my killing stroke. So instead, I will spare you and the others and we will end this discussion with:
    “I rest my case.”
    As for Dave vs. Nikki,
    I don’t want to speak for Dave, and am not neccessarily defending him; but I didn’t get the impression he was calling Nikki a rightie. It felt more like he felt (and was bummed) Nikki was selling out against her own beliefs/ethics to generate more page counts and profit by acquescing to Drudge’s hoops to get that oh so special “link” he gives. At least that’s the impression I got off of it.
    I say, who cares. Make your money.

  60. David Poland says:

    If you seek to become a tool of right wingers, you wake up covered in their dogma.
    Roger Friedman is not a right winger. But working for Fox News is a choice, right? No tarnish there?
    There was no specific reference to any individual as a right winger in the entry.
    And oh, how it amuses me that “right winger” is worth commenting on, but “Sell-Out Media” is not.

  61. THX5334 says:

    My bad. Your response wasn’t posted when I typed the above^^^^ Willams college. Very respectable, maybe they are better. I wouldn’t know, I’ve never studied there, so I’m not going to make an uninformed judgement. I was curious to who the three critical studies proffessors you had at for your grad req. at USC that you felt sucked. But I’m with you, this is lame to everyone else.
    Dargis was a phenomenal teacher, by the way. But I’m sure you’ll again go and jump to judgmental imaginary conclusions to support your position.

  62. jeffmcm says:

    Williams is small and none of those professors is an academic superstar, but I learned a lot.
    The others at USC were Ed O’Neill (as mentioned – arrogant and lazy), Jan Olsson (smart but teaching way over peoples’ heads) and Cristina Venegas (boring and didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know).
    I would think Dargis would be great. I hope it was somebody else who mistaught postmodernity to you.

  63. Blackcloud says:

    Since Nikki Finke is reading this, I’d like to know when the new Star Wars movie, Attack of the Sith, is coming out. A seventh Star Wars would be great.
    Critical studies? Blech. Postmodernism? Triple blech!

  64. THX5334 says:

    Yeah, Williams knowledge of film composition, history and theory is superior to USC, with their history, resources and adjunct faculty of recognized working professionals…..
    And I’m sure in your world Peter Pan and the Easter Bunny are real and the prequels didn’t suck.
    And to close it out people….
    please type “Spoiler Warning!” before you spoil.
    Ahh…Good Times.

  65. jeffmcm says:

    Is this a different guy than the one who posted at 6:51?
    Like I said, all I know is, I learned a lot more from nobodies at one school than at the other. Also, ‘working professionals’ vary greatly in their abilities to teach. Especially in criticism/theory, where there is no ‘working profession’ except writing.

  66. Joe Leydon says:

    Dave, no offense, but if Drudge doesn’t link to your website — maybe it’s because he doesn’t think your website is, well, worth linking to? And maybe if he links to other websites, maybe they’re not sell-outs — maybe they’re just, well, better than yours? In his opinion, of course.

  67. THX5334 says:

    I had many working directors and producers, as well as critics and academics come in and teach classes on film design and theory. They loved the hell out of it.
    Many would come in and use their own works and experiences to exemplify how formal composition was used to reach an audience on an emotional/subtextual level.
    So the above statement about working professionals was not intended about academics and writers. Many of the same working name talent that contributes to the production school, come and contribute to the crit studies department.
    It’s the idea that based on very limited experience; you JUDGE and conclude that one of the most recognized film institutions/programs is MISTEACHING film theory and history, and is therefore “wrong” because it differs than the knowledge you got at your – not known for their film program – Willams college.
    The point I was trying to make at 6:51, is I’m not going to judge the quality of your undergrad, because I’ve had no actual experience with them (it was supposed to be an example of staying non-judgemental, which went right over your head it seems).
    Though I highly doubt they are correct and USC is wrong as you make claim.
    It is the pompousity of the whole thing, after calling Casper pompous that got me going. So naive, so narcacisstic and so uninformed.
    Is this Michael Bay?

  68. James Leer says:

    Ah, I’ve missed so much today!
    JeffMCM, I’m usually in your corner, but here I can’t be. I understand how you might draw a conclusion that Casper is overrated based on your friends’ comments, but to preach it as the gospel without ever having taken one of the man’s classes is like not seeing a well-known film but calling it terrible. I mean, people I respect didn’t like “Art School Confidential,” but without having seen it myself, can I really call it among the worst films of the summer?
    Casper is a pretty eccentric professor and that might rub a lot of people the wrong way. He certainly gives no quarter to timid students. But his Hitchcock class is a gem.
    Also, the Crit Studies department at USC when I went there (late 90s, early aughts) was pretty damn good. As THX mentioned, its staff rotates so often that there are always great alumni coming in to teach. I definitely respect your opinion, but you have to realize that without getting specific, you’re going to draw the ire of some of the posters here. You know how you feel when Nicol makes sweeping pronouncements about subjects but doesn’t offer anything concrete? That’s what probably provoked THX at first.

  69. jeffmcm says:

    For you, James, I will bow down and concede that THX probably knows more than I do about the classes he’s taken that I haven’t.
    However, none of that changes the fact that he was taught a fuzzy meaning of post-modernity, which is how this all got started in the first place.

  70. jeffmcm says:

    The word is spelled “narcissistic”.

  71. jeffmcm says:

    I know, I’m an asshole. 🙂

  72. Blackcloud says:

    “. . . a fuzzy meaning of post-modernity . . .”
    Isn’t that redundant?

  73. David Poland says:

    Actually, Joe, I know that not to be the case for a fact. But thanks for being predictable.
    And wouldn’t that make you an idiot for hanging out here? In Matt’s opinion, of course.

  74. jeffmcm says:

    What was ‘predictable’ about Mr. Leydon’s question above? He was trying to suggest a reasonable explanation for the snub. There was nothing nasty or demeaning about what he said.

  75. Joe Leydon says:

    David: You know this “for a fact”? Because you have, like, asked Matt whether he likes your site? Or you have inside informants at Drudge World Headquarters?
    In any event, rest assured that I don’t care how many other vastly more famous and successful people think your website is worthless. I’ll continue reading it anyway, because I enjoy it. Does that, too, make me predictable?

  76. David Poland says:

    Funny, you were the other person I expected the casual back of the hand from… as is your norm.
    Joe addressed, in two comments, everything about the notion that there was something wrong with me, not the story. Drudge not linking to me or MCN was not the point of the story. That is old news… and will not change. I explained that so it would be clear. But that never seems to stop people who want to backbite. The point was the recent phenomenon.
    The point was a very specific phenomenon. Don’t think it’s happening. Say so. But to make it about me is schoolyard bullshit.

  77. jeffmcm says:

    Schoolyard bullshit is right. DP, your paranoia and defensiveness are becoming worse and worse all the time. I think you have a problem.

  78. David Poland says:

    Yes, of course you do, J Mc.
    You can spew whatever you like and if I respond at all, I am paranoid and defensive. I hope all of your relationships aren’t like this.
    But at least you are consistent.
    And again… none of this is on topic.

  79. jeffmcm says:

    So you’re giving me “I know you are, but what am I” now?

  80. jeffmcm says:

    Let’s clarify: Joe raised an innocuous question about this blog thread. Your response to it was, in my perception, nasty. And the only reason I can think of for why is because Joe dared to suggest something about your ‘standing’ in the internet community, and even though his wording was, again in my perception, conciliatory.
    That’s what’s going on here, unless you think that Joe ‘predictably’ has some kind of axe to grind against you and aren’t communicating that to the rest of the world.

  81. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I know I’m going to regret this, but: David, try to step back from things for a second, take a deep breath, and then re-read your original posting. Now: Wouldn’t you agree that, for an impartial observer, there might seem to be a certain — well, shall we say, whiney quality to your complaint? I mean, look, if I send you a link to some free-lance story I’ve written for the Nashville Tennessean, or the NY Daily News, and you choose not to link to it, should I feel entitled to go around telling people what a nasty person you are? Or should I just tell myself: Well, maybe he didn’t think those stories were worth linking to? Like him or not — and, rest assured, I do not — Matt Drudge is one of the most popular websites on the Internet, with hundreds of thousands of hits a week (maybe a day). In his position, he has to make judgment calls. He can’t link to everybody. He doesn’t have to. And, yes, to paraphrase my favorite line from “Little Fauss and Big Halsey,” maybe he just doesn’t fucking like you. But so what? How does this minor snub translate into the Corruption of the Internet As We Know It?

  82. David Poland says:

    Because, Joe, I am not the issue.
    OLD news. A decade old. Get it?
    Thanks for the lesson, teach, but I know what Matt does… I happen to do it myself everyday. And I have plenty of people who have opinions about it.
    Is is possible for this to be a story that’s not about me? Can you imagine that? I know I can.

  83. jeffmcm says:


  84. Stella's Boy says:

    Wow is right. I have never seen DP so defensive before. I don’t understand why it became so nasty. Joe’s original point seems harmless enough: Drudge just might not like MCN. And considering it’s Drudge, that may not be the worst thing in the world. Not everybody is going to like you right? When I go back and read that, it doesn’t seem like Joe was trying to insult DP or MCN at all, and like he said, he comes around because he likes it. Same for me and I’m sure jeff and everyone else here.

  85. Geoff says:

    What really bugs me about this whole recent Drudge trend, and I do agree with you about this, Dave, is that it seems that the conservative media elite (Drudge, O’Reilly, Friedman, etc.) are making a hard effort to draw ideological battle lines, when it comes to popular entertainment.
    Da Vinci has some questionnable content about the Catholic church, so it MUST be some left-wing propaganda effort and we have to hightlight how DISAPPOINTING the box office has been. I mean, Drudge has a line, the other week, that it was running behind Passion. Whoooh, big deal, I’m sure Sony’s losing sleep over that!
    Steve Colbert had that biting comedy bit at the White House press dinner, so now we MUST highlight how he only gets 1 million viewers a night! Who cares that it’s on basic cable at 11:30 EST and that the ratings are in the same ballpark as all of Fox News’ highest rated programs?
    Seems like all of the X Men hyperbole was meant to serve the same purpose, as if: this is a REAL hit, unlike Da Vinci and look how well FOX is doing with this film and the American Idol ratings! Same with the coverage of Brokeback, Munich, Commander-in-Cheif, and a dozen or so other entertainments, in recent years.
    They are trying to pigeonhole stuff that really cannot be pigeonholed, politically. It’s all very silly, since most entertainment cannot be easily broken down into right and left wing.
    What really bothered me was how Rush Limbaugh tried to hype United 93, a few weeks ago, as some right-wing story of heroism that those on the left were afraid to watch, because they can’t see terrorists as villains. It was absolutely disgusting. Now, I have not been able to see it, but from what I understand, the film absolutely defies politics or ideology, which is the way Greengrass intended. And what was really funny is that Rush scheduled an interview with Greengrass, probably hoping he would have the same easy time bouncing his views off him that he did with Mel Gibson, two years ago.
    Now, if you know Greengrass’ history and the politics, if any, of his movies, this would seem to be a futile effort. From what I can tell, Rush was trying to get Greengrass to say that his movie and the story of Flight 93 provided some sort of validation for our efforts in Iraq. And from the transcripts that were available, it’s very clear that Greengrass wasn’t having it. Needless to say, it seems that they aired only about two or three minutes of the interview and about one paragraph of the transcript was on the web site.
    Honestly, what are these guys thinking, sometimes?

  86. David Poland says:

    Why is this like talking to a wall?

  87. Josh Massey says:

    How ’bout them Braves?

  88. palmtree says:

    What’s happening to New Media seems inevitable. I still think we’re in the honeymoon period, but if anything, the internet seems one of the best places to segment an audience with stories that reinforce certain viewpoints, a la links to like minded folks and the scarcity of facts.
    Mr. Poland, if what you’re doing is exactly what Drudge is, then how are you different? I think that’s what’s got everyone riled up.

  89. David Poland says:

    Yankees for me.

  90. Aveeno1 says:

    I’m posting here for the first time but WOW….
    this was not about DP, the article was about Drudge and the corruption of the internet.
    David has a point here. Geoff is totally right, everything on Drudge is skewed toward right-wing ideology, if he doesn’t like anything or agree with it then its dubbed left-wing…
    well, at least he’s not hidding it.
    Roger Friedman’s articles in the last year or so have mostly been national enquirer-ish yet got lots of linkage from Drudge…

  91. David Poland says:

    Palm… you added a word that I would never use… “exactly.”
    We don’t do exactly what Drudge does any more than Wolverine does exactly what Storm does… or Jack does exactly what Ennis does.
    MCN’s goal has always been to let you make up your own mind. Headlines often have a strong point of view… but we are still linking to the stories on all sides of issues. Breaking, Best, Alternative Voices. Those are the stories we look for.
    There is only one writer who I have ever felt personally aggrieved enough by to avoid their work. (He is in a small market and the possibility of a link rarely comes up.) And we linked to him a month or two ago anyway.
    This doesn’t all happen in a vacuum. When I incorrectly give credit to some organization for breaking something, I often get a note from the real breaker. And we make the adjustment.
    If the story breaks somewhere with a pay wall, we still run that link

  92. Joe Leydon says:

    “I guess that

  93. David Poland says:

    You can always find a place to take a shot, Joe. It’s rarely on topic, but you have skills. Color me impressed.

  94. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course you’re impressed. I have a dazzling intellect, an encyclopedic knowledge of film, a rapier-sharp wit, a mesmerizing aura of seductive sensuality — and, most important, I have a sense of humor about myself. I’ll take all of that over Samoan Wrestler hunkiness any day of the week.

  95. jeffmcm says:

    Is DP pushing the meme that Joe Leydon is a cheap-shot artist extraordinaire and has been for some time?

  96. David Poland says:

    What exactly is a meme… I keep seeing it and get the idea of what it means, but what is the etomology?
    And J Mc, I restrained myself from including you before, since your response was inevitable, but yes, you and Joe often seem more interested in getting in a personal slap than discussing the issue I am writing about. Not always. But when that door opens a crack, you 2, more than others in here, seem to relish it.

  97. jeffmcm says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way.
    Meme: A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. From the Greek.

  98. palmtree says:

    Actually, it’s from Richard Dawkins…The Selfish Gene. He was the first person to use the word that way.

  99. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, but the root word is from the Greek mimesis. I took the definition from

  100. palmtree says:

    Yeah…which Dawkins then used to coin his word.

  101. Lynn says:

    “Steve Colbert had that biting comedy bit at the White House press dinner, so now we MUST highlight how he only gets 1 million viewers a night! Who cares that it’s on basic cable at 11:30 EST and that the ratings are in the same ballpark as all of Fox News’ highest rated programs?”
    I think the far funnier thing about Colbert is that some right wingers actually think he’s on their side.
    The clip is here, and yes, this site is for real, not a parody:
    Now *that* is comedy.

  102. jeffmcm says:

    Palmtree, I know. DP asked for the etymology.
    You’re right, Lynn. Priceless.

  103. Lynn says:

    :: cue Billy Crudup ::
    “Lobbying fees for Jack Abramoff? Two million dollars.”
    “Illegal political contributions? Four million dollars.”
    “Shrill, inept right wingers believing the guy making fun of them is actually on their side? Priceless.”
    “Some things money just can’t buy, for everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
    (Damn, should’ve entered their contest…)

  104. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I assume Mr. Snitch did not highlight the truly big story from Memorial Day weekend: US military acknowledging that the Marines massacred innocent people at Haditha. That massacre is being compared to My Lai.

  105. palmtree says:

    The word meme was created by Dawkins to resemble the word gene. And his idea was that they operate the same way, replicating themselves into other people so that an idea (tune, catch phrase, etc.) takes on a life of its own.

  106. jeffmcm says:

    Did the last day or so of this thread get deleted?
    Was that because it was ‘off-topic’?
    If so, everything after 3am on May 28th should go as well.

  107. jeffmcm says:

    My mistake, wrong thread.

  108. David Poland says:

    Appreciate the self-correction, but for the record, no non-spam entry has ever been removed from this blog and no one has ever been banned. Ever.

  109. Joe Leydon says:

    David, I know this is going to result in your again accusing me of always attacking you, but your above posting is not exactly true. You deleted my post back when I accused you of posting a spolier regarding the movie “Red Eye.”

  110. Joe Leydon says:

    BTW: Just in case you forgot:
    Joe accused me of a spoiler, but I think teh detail fo his accusation makes a spoiler out of something that isn’t really a spoiler… unless you’ve already seen the film.
    Posted by: Joe Leydon at August 19, 2005 04:18 AM

  111. David Poland says:

    I vaguely remmeber that, Joe.
    “How about, no entry has ever been erased without discussing it with the subject and acknowledging it openly on the blog?”
    And frankly, I regret doing that, even though, apparently, we discussed it openly. I would rather you had not specified the alleged spoiler, as I recall.
    P.S. Not an attack… but a little bizarre and self-congratulatory.

  112. Joe Leydon says:

    “[B]ut a little bizarre and self-congratulatory.”
    Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

  113. jeffmcm says:

    It was not an obvious spoiler, but it did indeed have the effect of spoiling an aspect of the movie.

  114. Josh Massey says:

    Ok, I don’t remember what it was – and since I’ve now seen “Red Eye,” my enquiring mind wants to know.

  115. Joe Leydon says:

    Sorry, Josh: If I told you, then I would be accused (rightly) of planting a spoiler. And I must be mindful of the fact that, even at this point in time, some people on this blog have not yet seen the movie. Let’s just say that Dave ran a large photo of — and thereby called undue attention to — a prop that enables a potent dramatic and emotional payoff at a key point in the movie. (Actually, by using the word “point,” I’m probably revealing too much.) I’m sure Dave would disagree that this was a spoiler. I would respectfully suggest that it was.

  116. Josh Massey says:

    Wow, I’m glad I missed that the first time.

  117. Josh Massey says:

    And by “this,” I don’t mean the alleged spoiler (which wasn’t that bad since it wasn’t the “finale,” per se), but the back-and-forth in the comments.

  118. Josh Massey says:

    Speaking of spoilers, by the way, stay the hell away from Wells right now – specifically his “Superman Returns” coverage. He gives a huge spoiler away without a second thought.
    What a toolbag.

  119. Blackcloud says:

    “Wow, I’m glad I missed that the first time.”
    You and me both. And for the same reason.

  120. Blackcloud says:

    “Speaking of spoilers, by the way, stay the hell away from Wells right now – specifically his “Superman Returns” coverage. He gives a huge spoiler away without a second thought.”
    Lemme guess–Supes isn’t gay?

  121. THX5334 says:

    Typical Wells. What a fucking a-hole.

  122. jeffmcm says:

    Agreed. Reason #10295 to not go to his 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