Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Bootleg Sandler

Will I respect myself in the morning?
Unclear. But I felt sleazy as hell as I purposely made eye contact with the stooped Chinese woman who was selling bootleg DVDs at a pizza place in Queens. This on the heels of a spectacular FBI roundup of 13 bootleggers, the punchline to a long-gestating sweep through New York.
Those 13 may be behind bars, but there’s still inventory floating around out there. The Chinese pizza connection was a veritable one-woman Blockbuster, carrying all the latest summer titles — X-Men, Da Vinci Code. Also like the folks at Blockbuster, she didn’t seem to have any personal interest in or knowledge of the movies she sold. I noticed her because her body language was that falsely ingratiating kind found in pleading-eyed scavengers who try to sell single-stem roses to diners before a restaurant kicks them out. But the table of teenagers near me squealed with glee when the woman splayed her plastic-wrapped wares like slabs of an oversized Tarot deck; I was curious.
Years ago, the MPAA took me along on a stakeout of a Bronx video store that was serving as a front for bootleggers. So now, I briefly thought of calling my old contact (who, notwithstanding, had long since left the MPAA) and alerting him to the skulduggery of this old woman — although she was “old” only in the sense that actresses over 40 were once considered fodder for granny roles. She was possibly in her 50s, but she shuffled as if she were in her dotage, perhaps because life had beaten her down. Or perhaps she’d lost the will to live after seeing Click, the moronic, depressing new Adam Sandler movie that I bought from her for five bucks, rationalizing to myself that it was in the service of “research” for this blog.
Whoever filmed Click off a movie screen with a camcorder was sitting to the left of the theater, coughed like a banshee, hit the mute button twice by mistake, and squeaked his chair with alacrity throughout the movie. As for those pesky end credits, he didn’t bother filming them. They’re not part of the movie, are they?
If you care about film, you don’t want to see one off a bootleg copy. But then, if you care about film, you don’t want to see Click.
No one has accused Sandler of having range. His claim to fame is still his man-boy singing of silly songs in a silly voice. As most sentient beings will agree, a little Sandler goes a long way. But that doesn’t stop him in ClickSPOILER ALERT!!!! — from performing an excruciatingly sorry-ass death scene in which he flails about, gasping, in a hospital gown and a puddle of water. His character, who has fast-forwarded through his life to avoid the hassle of experiencing any of it, suddenly sees the error of his ways and tries, with his dying breath, to gain absolution from the family he betrayed.
Hamlet he ain’t.
But the week wasn’t a total loss. Here’s the view from my neighbor Nick’s terrace:

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One Response to “Bootleg Sandler”

  1. Very nice piece. Last year I was approached by an enterprising gentleman selling copies of The Cave. This occurred just as I was leaving a press screening of … well, The Cave. Now that’s quick turnaround.

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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