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David Poland

By David Poland

Little Children Soldier(s) On

In its eighth weekend in theaters, New Line

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39 Responses to “Little Children Soldier(s) On”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    Did you ever write a review of this movie, aside from proclaiming it your favorite of the year last week?

  2. jeffmcm says:

    Thank you.

  3. Wonder17 says:

    I agree. The more of the oscar hopefuls that I see, I keep thinking about how much of an impact “Little Children” made on me.
    I’ve been trying to get people to see this film, but I think some fear it might be a little too “artsy” or “depressing.” And the sex offender aspect doesn’t help either. I thought this movie was a breath of fresh air.
    I was hoping that New Line would push Kate Winslet, but that seems to be dying on the vine, right?
    Can she make a late run? I have a feeling that “The Queen” could cool off by January — maybe “Little Children” makes it in the top five come oscar time. I really hope so.

  4. EDouglas says:

    Well, I got a screener last week (as I’m sure did the other New York critics) but I doubt my mind will be changed about what I liked/didn’t like.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    Way to not express an opinion, Edouglas.

  6. Rob says:

    Dave, which are the markets where it’s growing, besides NY and LA?
    Here in Boston, I noticed it lost one location after four weeks and is down to three showings a day in weekend six of the second location.

  7. Bennett says:

    So, when is this going to expand? I love the book and Kate & Jennifer. I have been itching to see this for months. Is this just the slowest platform ever. Unless, it gets a best pic nom, the buzz is fading fast, especially in a very busy Dec.

  8. mutinyco says:

    Expand. Kate & Jennifer. Itching.
    Not three images I want in my mind at the same time.

  9. EDouglas says:

    “Way to not express an opinion, Edouglas.”
    Hey, my review is easily found if anyone wants to read it. I just think that David’s fervor for this film is a bit misguided. The movie is just way too creepy for normal folk (which is why it hasn’t expanded) and that includes Oscar voters. It gets a couple acting nods and a screenplay nod at best.

  10. Stella's Boy says:

    Yes if only Little Children could be more like recent EDouglas faves A Good Year and Deja Vu.

  11. scarper86 says:

    The movie is just “way too creepy for normal folk”? What does that even mean? “American Beauty”, “Alien” and “Employee of the Month” were all creepy in their own ways and lots of “normal folk” saw those films. I’m proud to not be considered “normal” if it means I can appreciate great films like “Little Children.”

  12. wholovesya says:

    The 40 theaters and $1.5 million is an intriguing stat David, but let’s be real here. New Line has screwed this opening up from the beginning and we both agree this is a great movie they have on their hands. They opened on the same number of screens in New York and LA on the same weekend as THE QUEEN (what were they thinking???) and had no marketing behind it whatsoever. Let alone very little press. I’d like nothing better than to see a LITTLE CHILDREN comeback, but the first paragraph is that story has to do with how New Line botched it’s release — big time. LC should have been released in December as a late season surprise because the Toronto Film Festival was clearly a mistake — they didn’t get the bump out of it they thought they would. That studio need a big shake up over there and unfortuantely that doesn’t include Bob Shaye. The release date for T-D (obviously a bad movie) was idiotic (how about a clearer date in August, September or the Spring?) and the marketing was stunningly uninspired. THE NATIVITY may end up being a huge dissapointment for them financially (though granted the pregnancy of 16-year-old Mary hasn’t helped). Besides LOTR, FINAL DESTINATION movies and MONSTER-IN-LAW there isn’t much New Line can do right these days. Many of us have friends over there, but sadly it’s the truth. How many more bombs before those rumors of a TW takeover start happening again?

  13. jeffmcm says:

    We’re talking about Oscar nominees here. They don’t nominate weird, creepy movies for high honors. American Beauty may feature a protagonist who lusts after a teenager, but it also features lots of good-old-fashioned sentimentality and redemption.

  14. The thing that amazed me was not that Little Children is still on so few screens, but that Shortbus (released on the same weekend) has made it to more cinemas. I mean, Children may be “creepy” and “weird” but surely there’s more people (you would think) who would see Children over Shortbus.

  15. EDouglas says:

    “Yes if only Little Children could be more like recent EDouglas faves A Good Year and Deja Vu.”
    If you did your research, Stella’s Boy, you would have seen that I ranked Little Children higher than both of those even if all were given passing grades. Figure if you’re as concerned with my reviews as you’ve made yourself out to be with your comments here, you could have easily checked that. I don’t expect either of those to be Oscar BP candidates either.

  16. palmtree says:

    Little Children has done for me what no other film this year has yet…it gave me a space to think about myself as I related to the people on screen. Friends With Money almost got there but was not substantial enough. After seeing movie after movie trying to strenuously entertain me or trying to get to enjoy a gimmick, Little Children is the one that sticks because it is about what people really aspire to without much sugar coating.

  17. jeffmcm says:

    Shortbus has done relatively well because it appeals to the gay niche market, and John Cameron Mitchell has some name recognition.

  18. Yeah, the numbers in places like Rancho Niguel may have grown from week to week, but what does that matter if the numbers have grown from extremely weak to very weak to somewhat weak to just plain week?
    I can understand why New Line released it the same weekend as The Queen. They were just trying to do the same thing: build off strong word of mouth the weekend after it played the New York Film Festival. But people in places like Rancho Niguel don’t really give a ratatouille about the New York Film Festival. They care about what their friends say about the film, and their friends aren’t going to say squat if they don’t know what the film is, who is in it or when and where its playing.
    New Line did screw the pooch on the first break, but I have to admit they are playing it smart by not rushing to expand it. Wait for the NBR announcement in two weeks, see how it plays out with the other early critics group announcements and build from there. At least it won’t crash and burn like DoaP (which I use only as an example of a film that the distributor mistook festival buzz as true publicity and rushed it to the market before they could build a good marketing scheme).

  19. In all honesty, I’d probably think a Todd Fields film (coming off of In the Bedroom) starring Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connolly would appeal to upmarket audiences much more than a British import about a woman American audiences don’t even have a connection to.
    It helps that The Queen is a better film (apparently, neither of the two are out down here yet) but, still.
    It must’ve been that trailer? The trailer was wonderfully done and was different to every other one out there, so naturally people were turned off.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    I am greatly concerned EDouglas. Since you keep giving positive reviews to shitty movies, I can’t help but be concerned. Same goes for the rest of the comingsoon crew. They never saw a shitty movie they didn’t love.

  21. bipedalist says:

    Little Children is a wonderful film. But I fear the jerking off scene (“I’ll kill you if you tell”) will put off voting members, especially women, especially mothers. You still feel for him but you know, as the film brilliantly puts it, child molesters are at the very bottom — even probably below serial killers. So he’s only a flasher in the film but still. Screenplay, actress – director MAYBE. I do love how Poland beats the drum for a movie he loves, though. He might be able to push this one into the BFCA awards. And from there, who knows.

  22. iowabeef says:

    Any idea on when Little Children will expand? We’ve been promised it for weeks here in Phoenix at our art theatre and every week we get crap like Driving Lessons and Keeping Mum instead.

  23. marychan says:

    Hi Stella’s Boy. Your comments become more and more like personal attack (and off-topic)…. and those comments aren’t true. (You need to read more reviews….)
    For LITTLE CHILDREN…. I think that Oscar voters are more open-minded than many people thought, so I think this movie should be a big Oscar condenter.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    KCamel, Little Children did have an interesting trailer, but it never got a lot of play. I’ve seen it exactly once in theaters and the movie has gotten no television ads. In contrast, The Queen had plenty of awareness and publicity early on.

  25. Stella's Boy says:

    You’ll have to pardon me as I disagree with you marychan. I have been reading for years now. I still use it for news, but I think the reviews section is downright awful, sometimes laughable. I rarely, if ever, agree with their critics. Mostly I don’t bother with that section anymore. Mostly.

  26. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I saw “Little Children” last month at the Ritz 16 in South Jersey. All I went on was the plot summary from — I never saw any trailer and there were no ads in the Jersey papers.
    Who doesn’t see this pic and realize how strong you have to be to raise your own children? Who doesn’t get the sense that what’s going on up on the screen could be in your hometown?
    Too bad the Philly-based Ritz chain has dropped “Little Children”. They could have used it because most of their arty stuff is played out. The Clairidge Cinema in North Jersey dropped the movie last Wednesday only to bring it back on Friday because “Fast Food Nation” has tanked.
    As for its national prospects? New Line has said it won’t expand “Little Children” until after New Year’s. Sony Classics is doing the same with “Volver”, the new Almodovar; that title is now in the national top 20 but won’t go national until Xmas and beyond.
    FWIW New Line doesn’t do its own distribution in Canada; Odeon Films has the Canadian release.

  27. David Poland says:

    It’s cheap and lazy to dismiss this as “beating a drum” simply because you disagree, BiP.
    And you may be right about your concerns about adult content. (The same is true of Babel, btw) I have ALWAYS said that the film’s Best Picture chances are directly related to critics awards. And I have been of the belief that those awards will split this year. But there is a hum about this film being mishandled and making it an underdog as such in the eyes of critics may change that dynamic.
    The BFCA shot is lame. I see a lot more LAFCA people daily than I do BFCA members. But I’m not out campaigning for any film and I don’t believe you’ve seen the film in my Top Five in almost two months.
    Unlike other years, I am just as much in love with the Scorsese – which has the same problem of violence that you DQ L.C. for – and I have been out front with The Queen as a BP film as well. In fact, there isn’t a lot of fighting to be done this year, really. Just the 5 slot and maybe the 4-5 slots.
    So why the dismissive crap? Because you think Flags and Volver have a shot in hell? I disagree with you, but I don’t need to rip into you to make my point.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    So calling someone’s ideas ‘cheap and lazy’ doesn’t count as ripping into them?

  29. jeffmcm says:

    “…I’m not out campaigning for any film…”
    I actually think you believe this is true.

  30. EDouglas says:

    I have to try to see Little Children before commenting further. I remember liking it more than many of my fellow NY critics, though I still don’t think it stands a chance at BP with so many stronger films already.
    As far as’s reviews, I appreciate you sticking up for us, marychan, but really, Stella’s Boy is entitled to his opinion. I really can only speak for my own reviews and I’ll openly admit that in the last few months, I haven’t had as much time to really focus on writing interesting reviews about the movies I see, mainly because I’ve been seeing so many, as well as doing many of those interviews on the site. As far as my tastes and the fact that I like some movies that other critics trash (he could have easily picked Lady in the Water for instance, which I saw twice)… I’m a singular human being with my own preferences and tastes, but all movies are gauged using the same system, so if something like A Good Year gets a positive 7/10, then it must have something I felt is worthwhile to those who might enjoy it. I think I’m far more open-minded than many of the critics who are better writers and I try to write for our audience (which is mainly males 15-25), something that’s not always easy cause I’m not in that group.

  31. David Poland says:

    This is the core of issues I have with you, J-Mc… it’s never enough for you to tell us what you think… you have to tell me what I think.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    DP, I think this is the core of the issues I have with you: You think you’re doing one thing (not campaigning for any films) and you’re actually doing another (actively championing Little Children and Borat, among others).

  33. jeffmcm says:

    I should add, I don’t have a problem with you loving both movies and actively working on their behalfs. The problem is when you put on your ‘objective journalist’ cap and then do things like wonder about all the mean attack stories about one movie, and the ‘increasing sense out there’ about the other movie’s awards chances, that you cross the line out of journalist-land, and most importantly – without acknowledging it.

  34. Sam says:

    Jeffmcm, I highly question whether David or anyone could possibly ever satisfy your weird, amorphous expectations. You’re totally fault-finding here.
    There’s a difference between having an opinion, writing editorial columns that express that opinion, and “campaigning.” It’s not a clear line. I see no reason to doubt that David is adhering to his own reasonable standards; you’re calling him out by your own standards without really presenting a clear definition of what those are, or, more importantly, acknowledging that it *isn’t* a clear line, that it’s *not* a case of an incontrovertible truth being buried.
    The thing is, David wears a couple different hats with The Hot Button/Blog and MCN. He does objective reporting, and he also does subjective editorials. One thing I would agree with is that there is not always a clear distinction between the two, and I think that results in people going into something he writes expecting one thing and getting the other and being put off by that. But that’s not his fault. It’s the fault of the captious reader who insists on bending what he reads to his own standards and expectations and disparaging that which does not fit. That’s not really playing fair.
    I’m not saying David is perfect. In my opinion he does make errors of perspective now and again, in particular when assessing critical reception of some film or other that differs from his own. But I think these pieces represent perfectly valid opinions, presented as opinions, and not at all something I can conceive of as being labelled “campaigning.”

  35. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t completely disagree with what you say. I just think that he would get a lot less flak if he would just write a few more disclaimers, like in this above thread, something along the lines of ‘by the way, this is my favorite movie of the year thus far’.

  36. Richard Nash says:

    It’s the producers own fault for LITTLE CHILDREN. They released it at a terrible time and they platformed it terribly. They were hoping word of mouth and critic reviews would spur it on to success and that hasnt happend.
    They needed a Brad Pitt in the Patrick Wilson role. Now they’re going to have to beg and plead for nominations come Globe/Oscar season.

  37. EthanG says:

    Very bad news for Little Children: despite the strong per theatre average, according to my local theatre in Northern Virginia, the distributor is refusing to release any more prints.
    I went to DC to see Little Children, and rank it in my top 5 for the year, but this is very bad news indeed. Its campaign is seemingly dead if that is indeed the case.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but I just came back from seeing this.
    One question: after Ronnie went to the pool, shouldn’t he have been sent back to jail for violating his parole?

Quote Unquotesee all »

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