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David Poland

By David Poland

Why We Don't Link To Caryn James Much

A reader sent in a note asking:
“I was reading the NY Times article on All the King’s Men and was wondering about their referral of Toronto as a “nonexclusive” festival. My knowledge seems to contrast their reference, or am I taking their comment out of context? Are they referring to strictly Oscar races that Toronto would not aide?”
I wasn’t really sure what this person was talking about because I bailed out of the Caryn James piece when it was clear that she was doing her usual “I told you so” after the fact schtick, loaded with assumptions she really knows nothing about. When she is right about something like this, it is by mistake.
But looking for the specific reference the e-mailer was calling out, I found:
“Oscar-ready films that have opened in September, like

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54 Responses to “Why We Don't Link To Caryn James Much”

  1. fnt says:

    The NYFF sucks. I can’t forget them turning down CITY OF GOD for being too violent. What a joke…

  2. adorian says:

    (Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Finding Neverland, Ray, Sideways) all had their U.S., non-Telluride debuts at Toronto.
    What does this mean? Toronto is located in the U.S.?

  3. jeffmcm says:

    Number 872 in a continuing series “Why Everyone is Wrong”.

  4. Joe Leydon says:

    ‘I assume editors don

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    ‘I assume editors don

  6. T.H.Ung says:

    Anne Thompson says DP was at the MA afterparty at Chateau Marmonte last night.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    And I bet they ran out of Colt 45 within an hour of his arrival.

  8. David Poland says:

    Yes… we have once again found the level of discourse for some of you (almost always the same ones)in here.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, David: You made a mistake, we pointed it out. Instead of getting your shorts in a bunch, would it kill you to say: Hey, I made a mistake. I’m sorry. Thanks got pointing it out. I’ll correct it.

  10. David Poland says:

    It’s not the correction, Joe. That’s a gimme. It’s the glee. It’s like having my own personal jeering section. It’s also boring for anyone who isn’t jerking off to the thrill of me making a minor error (which is not something I ever call any other journalist out on) to read 7 comments about that error and nothing about the actual topic.
    Do you have anything to say about the issue? Anything?

  11. T.H.Ung says:

    I love the fact that we (you, really) can deconstruct things like this, but come on, you’re both right. All Caryn James was really saying was that

  12. jeffmcm says:

    DP, do you ever wonder why you might have your ‘own personal jeering section’?

  13. T.H.Ung says:

    I’m sure he knows it’s because he’s the soloist and you’re in the choir.

  14. T.H.Ung says:

    I get it. “Blame the internet! Damn us! Damn us every one!” What you really want is respect. I’m afraid then, that means, you will have to screen comments for appropriateness. Most “real” people will not leave comments, at least not with their name attached.

  15. Sam says:

    See, it’s crap like this that makes me uncomfortable every time I find myself wanting to voice disagreement with one of DP’s opinions. Because he gets called out on EVERY stupid little thing by you guys, dissent has a much smaller voice when something comes up that’s actually worth speaking up about.
    So if he doesn’t respond more accommodatingly when there’s actually something to complain about, well, duh.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Good point Sam, although the counter-argument is, if he’s going to respond defensively on small things then why should he be expected to do otherwise on big things?

  17. T.H.Ung says:

    Let’s all agree to ignore DP’s studip little mistakes. What’s going to the Vancouver Film Fest?????

  18. David Poland says:

    Sam, I beg for big issue discussions. I only have this blog in pursuit of them. In this thread, I was hoping to find discussion of the value of festivals, the NY perception that the NYFF is somehow above others, and the question of whether any festival choice sends a signal to anyone but journalists and people who are paying so much attention that they are less than 5% of the movie going population.
    Instead, I get nyah, nyah, nyah.
    THUng… not sure what this means… “What you really want is respect. I’m afraid then, that means, you will have to screen comments for appropriateness. Most “real” people will not leave comments, at least not with their name attached.”

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Woe is he who writes six hundred words and nobody cares.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Actually, let me be a little more blunt: woe is he who writes 584 words about a subject interesting to himself that comes off as not nearly concise enough to be engaging to the bulk of his readership and furthermore, like his umpteenth ‘Everybody’s wrong except me’ piece which further deflects from the central issue.

  21. David Poland says:

    Can I get you some tissues, J Mc?

  22. T.H.Ung says:

    I don’t care jack shit. DP, I thought I read here that you were going to New York. I feel a festival shift coming on, and I don’t mean a movement, maybe it’s cyclical, and I don’t mean periodic, it just feels like an off year. For my money, I’d be heading to Vancouver: The Fountain, The Last King of Scotland, Little Children, The Queen, Volver, Catch a Fire, Day Night Day Night. Things feel a little funky film wise — I think that’s a good reason to pay attention to the coverage of the NY Fest. LA may be the better coast, but NY is the right coast.

  23. EDouglas says:

    As I pointed out in my column, The Queen is going the exact same route as Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake… play the festival, open the next night in New York… expand from there. I do think the festival has had very strong films in their opening/closing/centrepiece slots every year. Mystic River and Good Night and Good Luck both opened the festival and the fact that WB movies like The Departed and The Fountain didn’t this year is telling IMO. (Not only about their Oscar chances but also about the type of films that the FSLC thinks would be right for their audience.) This year’s festival also has Volver and Pan’s Labyrinth, which I expect to be in the Oscar race.
    I can completely understand why The Queen wouldn’t have played Toronto… maybe because Canada shares their monarch with England and might not have approved?

  24. palmtree says:

    My guess as to James’ motivations…an effort to do a little New York, rah rah.
    If you’ll notice, New York Film Festival is in caps while Toronto film festival is in lower case, except for Toronto. Seems like a petty dig and is probably inconsistent with NY Times style to boot.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    DP, I don’t get your witticism. It’s not fault your blog gets unruly and off-topic…it’s _your_ blog.

  26. David Poland says:

    You endless repetition makes everything you offer less relevant, unfortunately. And it generates more questions about your motivation than it does real discussion.
    But you are right. I should just stop paying any attention to you at all. My fault.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    My only motivation is to try and make you a better writer, DP. Sorry you’ve developed such a shell to criticism.

  28. David Poland says:

    If you had anything to teach me, J Mc, you would find a more constructive way of doing it. I look forward to the McBlog. I promise never to be a petty daily drain on your patience.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    Too late.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    Oh yeah, this statement, “your endless repetition makes everything you offer less relevant” is exactly one of the flaws of your writing as I alluded to above. When so much of your writing consists of acting as the critic of all other journalists/media outlets, all the time, even when they deserve to be critiqued, there’s a numbing effect. You should change the name of the website to ‘journalist city news’.
    My two cents, you may now respond as you see fit.

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    “Do you have anything to say about the issue? Anything?”
    Well, yes: At this point in time, when a film plays the New York Film Festival, it does more for the festival than it does for the film. Seriously. Is there a more irrelevant festival in any major North American city? Hasn’t Toronto made the event almost comically redundant?

  32. David Poland says:

    There is no getting through to you, J-Mc. And before you say it, I have no responsibility to be gotten through to by you.
    You are a guest invited into my house here. And you have become mostly an irritant. You indicate that somehow you have been victimized, but you are an aggressively willing participant.
    For the sake of my sanity and with the intent of not constantly being sucked into this kind of crazy co-dependent situation, I have eliminated people from my life, including Mr. Wells. But you aren

  33. David Poland says:

    I don’t think it is the most irrelevant, Joe. It does matter amongst art house types in the biggest city in America.
    But in terms of the rest of America, I think it actually puts people off, not on. The snob appeal is just snobbery elsewhere.
    Overall, in my opinion, the only value left in festivals is as a media and/or sales event. And the value of both is getting less and less as the internet age makes access to information for the interested more simple to retrieve than ever before.

  34. David Poland says:

    P.S. Thank you, Joe.

  35. jeffmcm says:

    Aw Dave, but I do like you. If I didn’t I would have left a long time ago.
    When I say things like “I don’t understand” it’s because I legitimately think you have written something that people not in the loop will not understand because of writing too quickly or without proper editing. I don’t think I have ever said “I don’t like your ideas”. I criticize you for the same things you criticize in yourself in one of your semi-annual “I was peering deep into my own soul” columns. I’m sure I’ve been overly aggressive at times, but my only regret is that you have adopted a defensive attitude to _everything_ I write about you.
    This is what happens when stubborn people interact in a non-face-to-face way and I apologize for your hurt feelings.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    Actually, if you were to ignore me that’s AOK in my book. It would behoove you to not respond to everything I write.

  37. Joe Leydon says:

    At the risk of sounding like a nostalgic old geezer — which, perhaps, I am — I remember a time when the NYFF was a newsworthy event, when Jean-Luc Godard might come in with his new film, and use part of his post-screening press conference to seriously dis Francois Truffaut. (Truffaut, ever gracious, would refuse to be drawn into the argument a few days later.) Or the time in 1981 when Polish films such as “Man of Iron” (about the birth of the Solidarity movement) reflected the amazing thaw of hardline Communist control in Poland. (I’m not joking: I very nearly told Andrzej Wajda after seeing “Iron” — “Gee, maybe you really shouldn’t go home after making a movie THAT critical of the system.”) Of course, if you know anything about history, you know that, several weeks later, the hammer came down in Poland, and the new regime tried to get “Man of Iron” yanked as the official Polish entry in the Academy Award sweepstakes.
    But today? Maybe you

  38. jim emerson says:

    DP, I’m glad you brought this up. I almost e-mailed you that idiotic James piece and asked you to comment. I’ve been asking around about the significance of the NYFF, because I really don’t get it. I feel the way Joe Leydon does, when he writes: “At this point in time, when a film plays the New York Film Festival, it does more for the festival than it does for the film. Seriously. Is there a more irrelevant festival in any major North American city? Hasn’t Toronto made the event almost comically redundant?”
    Tell me I’m wrong: NYFF? Fuggedaboutit!

  39. Joe Leydon says:

    Jim: However, the Chicago Film Festival has, hands down, the best posters of any film festival. Really. I am typing this while Francois Truffaut — on a poster from the ’81 fest — looks down from his place of honor on my home office wall.
    Now if only I could obtain Chicago Fest T-shirts from that year!!!!

  40. jim emerson says:

    Oh, and if anybody wants to offer copy editing assistance, how about starting with this from the NYFF web site:
    The 17-day festival, presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, is a highly-selective showcase of new, inspiring and provocative cinema by both emerging talent and recognized international artists.
    (“highly-selective”??? How about “Haile Selassie”?)

  41. Joe Leydon says:

    There should be no hyphen in.. oh, never mind, you know what the rule is.

  42. T.H.Ung says:

    Taking a film to a festival is expensive, but a small film can get reviewed. We’re not there yet, where you can get that on the internet, not really. When hasn’t NYFF been the high brow, hoity toity fest? The triumverate is Toronto, Sundance, Cannes, even though every city and small town has their own. You know that book by Laura Kim of Warner Ind and John Anderson journalist/critic, which is continuing its travels to the Woodstock Film Fest, has everything you want to know about indie films and the festival circuit. An Oscar film needs a premiere, why not make it the NYFF? The Departed should be there. Flag, question mark.

  43. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    *sits calmly sipping on a diet coke*
    Life is bliss ’round these here parts.

  44. T.H.Ung says:

    I just saw a tv ad from the Kazakhstan board of tourism.

  45. Crow T Robot says:

    *snatches a VB from Camel’s esky, pops the top*

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Well THAT was interesting. To quote Pres. Bush, I think I know what’s in DP’s soul.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    (Not intended to be snide)

  48. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Pull up a chair Crow. It’s fun watching the show. Surely there’s gonna be a big twist any second now. My money is on the twist being that Jeff is really Nikki Fenke! Shyamalan would gasp.

  49. T.H.Ung says:

    The US Premiere of BOBBY is AFI FEST Opening Night Gala 11/1. It opens 11/17. Will there be a separate red carpet premiere?

  50. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Truth is, nobody outside of NYC really gives a damn about the NYFF, especially not the mainstream media, and really, not most people in HW.
    Toronto is the place, it gets the most press, the most hype, and has the best festival.
    That being said, movies don’t get nominated for Oscar because of what fest they play – they get nominated because of their quality (Lost in Translation), preceived quality (Crash), or savvy marketing campaigns (hello, Harvey).
    And anyway, saying a particular festival leads to Oscar is sort of a circular argument. Most of the time, if the film is of Oscar quality, it can almost choose which festival it wants to premiere at…so which festival it plays. A studio backed film with a large marketing budget can easily pick NYFF despite it giving less hype to a film than Toronto, because it can buy it’s own hype.
    Independent films will frequently gravitate to Toronto, partly because of the international aspect, because international distributors don’t attend NYFF the same way they do Toronto, so there is a separate business aspect outside of the marketing part….
    And don’t forget actors schedules…some films will get into both fests and choose one because, say, Brad Pitt is available to attend one and not the other…

  51. Lota says:

    well maybe not many IN NYC even care about NYFF either…or maybe it’s that filmmakers have an easier time getting into and getting “work” done in Toronto. at least this is the case for my NYC-dwelling friends, all of whom (but me) this year were in Toronto.

  52. Well…”maze rat on heroin” is my new favorite phrase of the week.

  53. EDouglas says:

    The New York Film Festival is not about the “business”… it’s about showing the best possible movies to a very elite audience of New York cinephiles. It’s quality over quantity…. and they get most of the filmmakers and talent into New York to attend the screenings, because a lot of times the screenings double as their NY premieres (which they would normally do anyway).
    And heck, you can do a lot more with your downtime in NYC than in Toronto, which is probably why people just sit in theatres all day when they go to that festival. Fun vacation!

  54. jim emerson says:

    I remember when I used to think of film festivals as “vacation” — and used to actually take time off from my real job to attend them. No more! I do find it easier to concentrate on the films, and seeing as many as possible (and writing about them) in some other city, though, where the distractions of real life don’t impinge so much on my moviegoing…

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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?”

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~ David Simon