Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

‘Orientation’: YouTube Movie of the Day

Does these clips–several of them posted on YouTube and adding up to one 30 minute “Orientation,” purportedly for the Church of Scientology–remind anyone else of the Hanso film on LOST?
They landed in my inbox this afternoon and I’ve been lost in their strangeness ever since. First, are they real? Or are they a parody of this religion whose tenets are unfamiliar (and probably misunderstood) by everyone who’s not a member?
As one of David Poland’s correspondents pointed out, the videoclip style isn’t much different from the “cheap, cheesy and lame” testimonial videos made for corporate sales meetings, colleges, and charities. Poland remarked that the one over the top moment in in video number 10 was the line, “you could also blow your brains out.”
Who wrote that, I wonder? The same scold who came up with, “If your best friend Timmy jumped off a bridge and killed himself, would you go head and jump of a bridge and kill yourself, too?” (Wait a second–the “jump of a bridge” line would be the argument against joining an organized religion or political movement.)
The videos–especially this one–reminded me of something that David Cronenberg would have done, circa SCANNERS. I am particularly fascinated by the host/presenters big, anchorman hair, which is so puffy and immovable that it just has to be an 1980s artifact. You simply can’t find men with Large Hair anymore. Even Oscar and Emmy winning hair and makeup artists have blocked this blowdry technique out of their collective memories.
If you’ve got nothing better to do, you can watch the entire 35 minute clip here – please post your theories and hair care tips.

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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