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David Poland

By David Poland

20 Weeks – Launching Phase II

Phase II is a different race than Phase I. Once the field has been narrowed to five, the dynamic shifts. And there are a whole new set of questions to answer.
Will Warner Bros spend big on Letters From Iwo Jima now, even though they never really saw this film as having much commercial potential? A push could pay off handsomely if the film actually won. But if it doesn’t, it is good money thrown away after already achieving the nomination.
How much deeper in the hole will Paramount and Paramount Vantage go on Babel in order to race. Again, the nomination actually puts the film in position to come within $10 million of breakeven after ancillaries. With an extraordinary success in DVD, they could break even. But any additional millions in spending to chase the win would all be lost if they didn’t win.
The campaign for The Departed has been very laid back. Will that change? Will Mark Wahlberg, now Oscar nominated, finally feel like he is appropriately valued by the studio? (Recall problematic moments at the junket and premieres.) The re-release might pay for itself. But is a strategic shift forthcoming?
The Queen will continue to expand and spend. But with Sheen out, leaving the same central trio on the campaign trail, with Mirren still an apparent lock, how can they ramp things up any further?
And we all know that Little Miss Sunshine will continue its “Little Best Picture” push. But how hard? And can they overshoot the mark?

The Rest….

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82 Responses to “20 Weeks – Launching Phase II”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    I’m just copying this from the other thread since this is where it belongs:
    I was just reading David’s current Oscar column and I have to take issue with one thing, the notion that you have to be consistent in explaining why a movie didn’t get nominated for Best Picture: that if Dreamgirls wasn’t picked because ‘it just wasn’t good enough’ then the same is true of United 93 or Pan’s Labyrinth or whatever.
    This is silly. It’s like if I said “United 93 was too intense and reminded its viewers too much of Sept. 11 to get nominated. The same is true of Dreamgirls.”

  2. anghus says:

    “United 93 was too intense and reminded its viewers too much of Sept. 11 to get nominated. The same is true of Dreamgirls.”
    It was too soon for Dreamgirls. America just wasn’t ready to deal with the aftermath of the Supremes breakup yet.

  3. Jonj says:

    Every film nominated for best pic will face its own unique backlash. Letters: Few care to see it. The Departed: A Korean remake. Sunshine: Too lightweight. The Queen: Too British, an acting vehicle. Babel: Too Crash-like. It’s the one that weathers the backlash that will be left standing in the end. At this point (which might change), I think we’ll end up with the year of Marty: For best director and best picture. And that’s not a bad outcome.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    Infernal Affairs was from Hong Kong, not Korea.

  5. EveHarrington says:

    “it very, very possible that Dreamgirls will continue the role of being a top Academy film, sans Best Picture, and win more or as many Oscars as any other film.”
    Poland still doesn’t get that this kind of bull-in-a-china-shop hype is what killed this movie’s Best Picture chances completely, not the film itself, which was clearly good enough to earn a nom. I’m starting to wonder if he isn’t secretly plotting against Dreamgirls.

  6. Jonj says:

    You’re right. Sorry.
    I also meant to add that I don’t even agree whether any particular backlash is justified. It’s just something I see happening.

  7. Chicago48 says:

    Angus: Too LOL!
    Anyway predictions:
    DG leaves all in the dust with over $100M; tops off between $120-150; foreign receipts are just now coming in…Departed in limited release and DVD continues to earn $$$….
    I agree Letters – nobody’s interested….
    Pan’s – Word of mouth will kill it. It may make double it’s cost…COM is dying a slow death at boxo….The Queen — too British and actor driven, limited appeal, appeals only to the ART houses…Babel? won’t make anywhere near $100M….I’ve already rented LMS, so unless they release it again, there’s not much more it can do.
    The big surprise which nobody’s talking about is Pursuit…boy talk about legs…it’s still in the top 10…this may help Will Smith win an Oscar…you think?
    The public isn’t TOO stupid, and none of the aforementioned BP’s appealed to anyone…if they had appealed they would be near $100Mil easy just based on word of mouth – look at LMS – word of mouth got it to the top.
    I have this strange feeling DG is going to be a cult hit movie…check back in one year for that prediction.

  8. Bart Smith says:

    “My rule remains the same… if you want to make that argument, be consistent. If the Academy left out Dreamgirls because “they just didn’t think it was that good,” then it also left out United 93 and Pan’s Labyrinth for the same reason. ”
    I don’t see how there’s any logic to that. It’s like saying that Chargers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl for the same reason that the Raiders didn’t make it.
    The only consistency in the reason the three movies didn’t get Best Picture nominations is that they all got less points from voters than the five movies that did get nominated.

  9. anghus says:

    Aren’t 3 of Dreamgirls nominations in one category?
    So the most it could win would be 5?

  10. jeffmcm says:

    Six (unless a tie happens in Best Song).
    How is word-of-mouth going to kill Pan’s Labyrinth? I can see overhype hurting it, but more people I know who’ve seen it like it than don’t.

  11. Crow T Robot says:

    Dreamgirls was Oscar enough, just not good enough.
    United 93 was good enough, just not Oscar enough.

  12. Chicago48 says:

    The people who are seeing it are the Art house lovers…once the general public sees it the “everyman” his word of mouth will not help the picture. There’s a misconception about the movie being an “Alice in Wonderland” type of fantasy and it’s not…very violent, very dark…the avg ‘everyman’ doesn’t like brutal, violent, dark…add to that subtitles.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Every ‘everyman’ I know has enjoyed it…maybe I don’t hang out with enough construction workers and housewives. I see subtitles hurting it, but Americans love violence (if they know it’s coming). So marketing may have to be a little less coy and precious.

  14. anghus says:

    I saw Pan’s Labirynth in a packed theater in the middle of North Carolina. Once is started, about 6 or 7 people left because of the subtitles. I heard one person exclaim
    “I dind’t know it was going to be in Mexican”
    The rest of the packed house stuck around until the end. In fact, the usually loud and idiotic North Carolina crowds were actually silent, though i attribute that to the fact that they were forced to read the subtitles and therefore didn’t have the time to chat or check their cell phone a dozen times.

  15. Hopscotch says:

    Of them all, I feel bad about “Children of Men”. I just saw for the second time last night, and god that film is brilliant. If it doesn’t win Best Cinematography that’d be a downright shame.
    I think “The Departed” will win Best Picture and Director, wouldn’t that be something.

  16. Hallick says:

    “I saw Pan’s Labirynth in a packed theater in the middle of North Carolina. Once it started, about 6 or 7 people left because of the subtitles. I heard one person exclaim
    “I dind’t know it was going to be in Mexican”
    I, I,…damn it, I can’t even muster a joke for that one. Res ipsa loquitor.

  17. Szasa says:

    Word of mouth is the reason Pan’s Labyrinth is continually expanding week to week. The nominations will create greater exposure which will drive it up. And, yes, in this country the subtitles are its biggest drawback. At the same time, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the country, so that won’t be a drawback across the board. The film will do just fine. It is magical in a way few films are, particularly the “magical” films Hollywood generally tries to put out. It’s darkness is of a piece with the darkness a fairy tales. Its realistic handling of the events in the real world only make it more valuable. Added to which, it isn’t a kid’s movie, but adult fantasy.
    Over and above all this is the fact that Pan’s Labyrinth is the kind of film that will hold on for years. It will generate income long into the future.
    No, the continued box office success of the dreadful Pursuit will not help Will Smith win. That race is down to O’Toole and Whitaker and nothing is going to change that.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    I like Pursuit, but I also think this nomination will only count for Will Smith paying his Oscar dues. If he wins, it’ll be for something further down the line.

  19. Josh Massey says:

    When I bought my ticket for “Pan’s” in Atlanta, the cashier asked me if I knew it was in Spanish with subtitles. So I assume those kind of reactions are happening all over the place.

  20. anghus: Raleigh? Chapel Hill? The Rialto? Colony? Varsity?
    Just curious.

  21. RP says:

    Hate to nitpick, DP, but please change “Forrest” Whitaker to “Forest” on the charts. It’s been bothering me since August!

  22. anghus says:

    Wilmington, NC
    No joke is required. The absurdity of the “i didn’t know it was Mexican” was funny enough.

  23. Oh believe me, I suffered through enough of that ignorance in my college years. Absurdity is right.

  24. anghus says:

    Wilmington makes Chapel Hill/Raleigh look like a cultural mecca.
    This town is full of all sorts of stupid.

  25. Nicol D says:

    Just to clear up a few misconceptions regarding the whole Pan’s Labrynth/subtitles thing.
    Subtitles hurt films…in every country. Violence/action sells well…in every country.
    When most mainstream American films are screened in foreign countries they play dubbed…not with subtitles. That’s why it is so funny to see dubbed versions of American action films. It is also why non-indigenous comedies are such a hard sell in foreign markets.
    So please, the next time you think you and everyone on the planet is so much more intelligent than mid-America Joe construction worker or Jane housewife…think again.
    Most people on the planet other then ‘cineastes’ prefer their films in the language they speak in. It doesn’t make them stupid or you smart. It’s not that facile.
    I personally prefer the original language of a film to poorly dubbed versions, but the way some people wear it on their sleeve reeks of insecurity and lack of knowledge of how films are released in foreign markets.

  26. Stella's Boy says:

    Nicol D, sticking up for the common man.

  27. Nicol D says:

    In every country…

  28. I didn’t read Nicol’s post cuz I don’t have to to know he said…
    The antagonist in the film was NOT a fascist and that had the people in the film simply listened to him, they would have won out in the end. Had they stayed the course, victory would be theirs.
    He then said the little girl had no right to question her parents in the film and that he didn’t actually *see* PAN’S LABYRINTH but read enough reviews to gather that interprtation.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    The basic information Nicol is conveying is correct, which makes it unfortunate that he feels a need to put himself on his own high horse, even while sticking up for regular folks everywhere.
    When I said my remark about ‘construction workers and housewives’, I was merely talking about the fact that everyone I know who’s seen Pan’s Labyrinth is someone pretty similar to myself: a youngish college-educated person urban-dweller. Maybe if I spent more time in North Carolina I’d find people who were going to give it bad word of mouth.

  30. anghus says:

    I never said anything about being ‘smarter’ or ‘better’.
    However, i am civilized enough to not stand up in the theater and exclaim “I Didn’t know this was in Mexican” at the top of their lungs, as if she required some kind of explination to get up and just walk out of the theater.
    I write reviews for a few regional publications, so i’m in a movie theater at least once or twice a week. Never, in my life, have i seen a more poorly behaved group of people watching movies. They talk, they object loudly, they get upset over sexual content and talk about how unchristian the movie is to one another, all while the movie is playing.
    I’ve never seen a geographic demographic more prone to just talk in a movie like they’re at dinner with their friends. I’ve started going to movies at 10PM on Tuesdays because it’s the one day people aren’t there, and i can actually watch a movie without hearing the running commentary.
    My favorites this year were…
    (Mind you, these were all spoken loudly enough for the entire theater to hear)
    Borat: Oh My God… He’s Naked! He’s naked y’all! Do you see that, he’s naked!
    Talladega Nights: (When Ferrell and Cohen’s character kiss): He’s kissing A MAN! I have lost all respect for this movie!” Then someone else asked “Is Will Ferrell gay?”
    Daredevil: (Picks up cell phone) What’s Up? Nothing. Watching Daredevil. No, it sucks. No, no one gets naked.
    (People start saying “shhhhh”)
    Then he goes right back to the call for 15 minutes.
    I’m almost happier when they are outraged, because then at least then they’re addressing what is being said on the screen. When they’re bored here they go right to the cell phone.
    So Nicol, i will never claim i’m smarter than anyone, but i’m smart enough to watch a movie and keep my mouth shut.

  31. anghus says:

    ooops, daredevil wasn’t this year, still it is in my all time, hall of fame, stupid moments at the movies

  32. Szasa says:

    I’m sorry if it was my comment that offended you so much, Nicol. When I said “in this country” it was because I am far mare familiar and entrenched in audience trends in the U.S. than anywhere else. Thank you for pointing out that it’s an issue elsewhere, too. But I certainly didn’t intend any type of “elitist” attitude by pointing out the subtitle issue. Though, in the end, the statement I made is still accurate.
    That said, I hope I handled this with a better attitude and that you can read it without feeling yelled at. That would make it a vast improvement over yours.

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize how many people Nicol had pissed off with one comment.

  34. Szasa says:

    I suppose it’s time he specifically direct his comments towards named individuals the next time he decides to behave like an ill-mannered middle school student.

  35. right says:

    Ironically, given the thread, no one (including DP) has mentioned the biggest obstacle for Letters from Iwo Jima — it’s in Japanese! No foreign language movie has ever won the Oscar.
    For the token facile year-to-year comparison, I must say I think this year most resembles 2000 (as DP alludes to):
    Departed = Gladiator
    Babel = Traffic
    Letters from Iwo Jima = Crouching Tiger
    Little Miss Sunshine = Chocolat
    The Queen = Erin Brockovich (best actress lock, best director nom, writing nom)
    Which of course is good news for the Departed. Babel’s superficial similarities to Crash hurt it as well, I think, so it stands less of a chance than Traffic did. The other key difference is no one expected Chocolat to have a shot, as it was the Miramax bought-and-sold candidate. LMS has a legitimate chance, since it got there on genuine audience affection.
    Anyway, I expect it to become a Marty-fest, although I agree it’s much more wide open than it has been in recent memory. If only every year were like this.

  36. movielocke says:

    speaking of middleschool students, the peer pressure on this blog to get Nicol to either conform or go away is equally disgusting.

  37. klenches says:

    This has happened five times in the last 20 years. Only in the case of Chicago did the film go on to win Best Picture. In one other case, the film was nominated for Best Picture (Working Girl). And in the other three cases, there wasn’t even a BP nod (Almost Famous, Bullets Over Broadway, Enemies, A Love Story).
    What about Gosford Park?

  38. Eric says:

    Movielocke, I think that’s mischaracterizing what goes on here. Nicol tends to politicize everything and discuss issues in a very argumentative way. That provokes the people who disagree with his politics– which, on a Hollywood blog, is going to be the majority. The conversation gets derailed because nobody wants to back down when provoked.
    I don’t think the liberals want the conservative to conform, I think they’d be just as happy if he simply went away.

  39. Yeah, I fer sure want him to conform. Like, totally.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not what Nicol says, he’s how he says it.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Jesus, learn to type:
    It’s not what Nicol says, IT’S how he says it.

  42. Szasa says:

    Anyone is free to say whatever they like and I hope he stays and disagrees as long as he wishes. I just didn’t care to be addressed that way- if he was addressing me. Now that I look at it with less self-regard, he may have been responding to someone else.
    Nonetheless, his attitude was irritating and I think worth pointing at. Debate and disagreement doesn’t have to entail vitriol and anger, despite the prevailing trends of the last two decades.

  43. Direwolf says:

    I think iti goes one of two ways. Either it is an Martyfest or an Amigofest. Martyfest is obvious as Departed wins BP and Marty gets Director. Amigofest gives BP to Babel, at least one to Children of Men and at least two to Pan’s. Either way the headlines tell a good story the next day.
    As for the Nicolfest on this thread, I actually sort of liked the comment “So please, the next time you think you and everyone on the planet is so much more intelligent than mid-America Joe construction worker or Jane housewife…think again.” I agree that it can be construed as insulting to those who post here since it presupposes that we feel this way even if we don’t.
    But it reminds of one my favorite things Howard Dean ever said. It was on The Daily Show I believe and it went something like “first thing we are going to do is to ask for your vote because just by asking we are showing respect.”
    This is a political argument with Nicol so I think it is OK to note that I think Democratic political operatives have shown a tendency to assume that the average voter is dumb. That is esepcailly the case with the attitude toward Bush voters. As a politically active liberal, I think Democrats and progressives would be a lot better off it they showed more respect. Same goes for Republican leaders but I hold no hope for them.
    Go ahead and flame me and I promise to stick to movies!

  44. Szasa says:

    I’d like to stick to movie, too, actually, so I’ll say that I think you have created valid scenarios, Direwolf. I thought that this would be a split year where Picture and Director go to two different films. But I’m not so sure of that now. I don’t think Babel can take the top prize. Marty is locked for Director. My personal pick out the nominees would be The Departed, though I wouldn’t have thought it could take the top spot up until Tuesday. At this point I think it will either be a Martyfest or a Marty/LMS split if there’s a split. Not because it deserves it, but only because it has such strong momentum right now with the people who will make these decisions ultimately. However, I see Pan taking Foreign Film and some others and Children of Men taking Cinematography. I don’t see any awards for Babel, but I admit that could reflect my opinion of the film and I doubt many voters will take that into account when they cast their ballots.

  45. right says:

    The bottom line is that there is both more and less of a race right now than appears on the surface to exist. And the media influence is both more and less significant than it appears to be.
    I’m a little verklempt… talk amongst yourselves.

  46. sartre says:

    DP, can you please explain more fully the basis for your calculation that Babel (with it’s BP nomination) will only come within $10 million of breaking even? The estimated budget for the film was $25 million. Thus far its made internationally (yet to fully reap the BP nomination boost and still to open in a likely strong market = Japan) $70 1/2 million, according to box office mojo. I appreciate that costs go well beyond the production budget, but a difference between it and box office earnings of $45 1/2 million and growing is no small change.

  47. I loved THE DEPARTED because it was a fun time at the movies. That being said, it would almost be a shame to give Scorsese the best director for it though because he’s done so many movies that are superior to that one. However, I feel like Cuaron got hosed by no nod and didn’t really care for BABEL all that much so who does that leave? Clint? I sure hope not, he’s alwaya lock for better or worse and that’s annoying.
    Jeez, I guess I’m rooting for Greengrass although I really didn’t dig U-93 all that much. It was well directed, I just fall on the side of that film that others do in that it played on too many preconceived notions and all that.
    Maybe I don’t care at all about best director this year. if I had my say del Toro and Todd Field would have been nominated.

  48. James Leer says:

    Christ, people, must you turn every thread into a Nicol D back-and-forth? He lives to be contrarian, and you’re just feeding the frenzy. Stop acting so shocked by him.

  49. radiobolivia says:

    “And if you think all five nominees “deserved” or “didn’t deserve” to be nominated this year… the same will be true next year and forever.”
    Oh really? So If the five nominees this year happen to represent what were, in my opinion, the best five movies of 2006, that forever binds my future opinions to those of the Academy? I’m trapped in some cycle where a voting body will always dictate my choices?
    I’m sure glad I’m not so big on Babel or Little Miss Sunshine. The loss of my free will would have been quite a blow.

  50. ArchiveGuy says:

    “I loved THE DEPARTED because it was a fun time at the movies. That being said, it would almost be a shame to give Scorsese the best director for it though because he’s done so many movies that are superior to that one.”
    I for one am tired of this stupid argument. “He’s made better films! It’d be so wrong!” How many directors have won Oscars for their best films (that are also actually good films)? I can probably count them on one hand. The standard isn’t “Departed” vs. Scorsese’s career. The standard is “Departed” vs. the other 4 directors. You might not agree he’s the best, but complaining about past injustices isn’t going to change the reality of today.

  51. Cadavra says:

    Two questions for DP:
    1) You don’t consider SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE a comedy?
    2) MARTY was the last remake to win BP? What about CHICAGO (1927 and 1942 [as ROXIE HART], admittedly without songs), TITANIC (1914, 1943, 1953, 1957, 1997 TV-movie) and GLADIATOR (as FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE)? And any buff worth his salt knows that DANCES WITH WOLVES is just a bald-faced knock-off of Sam Fuller’s RUN OF THE ARROW.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    Stealing a movie’s premise does not make something a remake. Even Chicago doesn’t count as a remake, since the musical version had never been produced as a film before.

  53. movielocke says:

    Speaking of recent comedy wins, am I the only one that thought American Beauty was one of the funniest movies of the year? Please don’t ask me to take such deliberately outrageous melodrama seriously, Rebel Without a Cause, it ain’t.
    Black comedy is still comedy, and that bag scene was priceless in how funny it was.

  54. jeffmcm says:

    Rebel Without a Cause has its share of overripe moments too.

  55. Hopscotch says:

    I agree with with Rebel without a Cause. After the movie is over I always say outloud, “Shit, I wonder what happens on the second day of School.”

  56. jeffmcm says:

    I always chuckle at Thurston Howell in an apron, and how upset it makes James Dean. It wasn’t far at all from there to I Was a Teenage Werewolf and Michael Landon’s rampant overacting.

  57. right says:

    I consider Chicago a comedy as well; but yeah, Shakespeare in Love, obviously. And Forrest Gump may be a drama, but it’s laugh-out-loud funny throughout.
    As for remakes, I still contend Braveheart is just a remake of Spartacus.

  58. Spacesheik says:

    Does anyone you know really like BABEL? Okay good performances, a tragic tale, a global drama, but not deserving of Best Picture.
    I loved THE DEPARTED, thrilling, highly-entertaining with a marvellous cast with Jack Nicholson doing his usual “horny little devil” routine. And you can bet your tush I’ll rush out and buy this oen for the DVD collection but…
    … it not a better film than LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, which is a thought-provoking, lyrical masterpiece.
    I am just sad UNITED 93 did not get nominated as Best Picture, that film floored me, I was near tears by the climax.

  59. ployp says:

    “When most mainstream American films are screened in foreign countries they play dubbed…not with subtitles. That’s why it is so funny to see dubbed versions of American action films. It is also why non-indigenous comedies are such a hard sell in foreign markets.
    So please, the next time you think you and everyone on the planet is so much more intelligent than mid-America Joe construction worker or Jane housewife…think again.
    Most people on the planet other then ‘cineastes’ prefer their films in the language they speak in. It doesn’t make them stupid or you smart. It’s not that facile.”
    That’s not true in Thailand. The only films dubbed here are family fares and animated stuff. And there’ll also be the original version for you to choose. Go to any cinemas in Bangkok and you can see for yourself. And the average Thai’s English is beyond bad. This is also true in Warsaw, Poland (my mom works at the embassy there). I’ve visited three times.

  60. Chicago48 says:

    Dreamgirls Revival for Broadway — why did I see this coming? Please jennifer DO NOT PLAY EFFIE ON BROADWAY…YOU WILL LOSE YOUR IDENTITY.

  61. ThriceDamned says:

    Nor is it true in Iceland. All films here (except animated family fare which is usually dubbed) are screened in their original language with subtitles. English proficiency here is above average however compared to most of Europe.
    Although we get quite a lot of “foreign” (non-English speaking) films in theaters, they usually don’t do much business except with a select audience or expeptional word of mouth. Here, like almost everywhere, Hollywood reigns supreme.

  62. Spacesheik says:

    Speaking of Oscars and how things have changed and yet havent…here’s a clip: Dick Cavett and Rex Reed discussing Academy Award nominees 1970:

  63. Lota says:

    not true in France either–not necessarily anyway.
    I saw Ruby in Paradise in english with French subtitles. I saw Into The West in Oirish/English with subititles, I’ve also seen US films dubbed there. SO it depends. In small towns where second languages are unlikely I;m sure movies are dubbed, but in big cities I am sure it is less common as many French have at least some English and German skills.
    I’ve seen Asian films there in original language as well with French subtitles.
    I’ve even seen French movies subtitled in French since the regional dialect was so particular they thought the audience might not “get” it.
    I have a dubbed version of mad max somewhere–Aussie English apparently too ‘complicated’ for americans to understand in the 80s or was it 1979? I didn;t see it til long after when I rented it out of blockbuster.

  64. Spacesheik says:

    People didnt mind Aramaic for PASSION OF THE CHRIST and that made $400 mill.
    And the first 1/3 of HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER was subtitles as well, no one walked out of that one.
    And LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL was a big hit, no one complained it was in ‘Italian.’
    Those people who walked out of PANS cause it was “in Mexican” sound like simpletons, although I have to admit that is one funny story.

  65. ThriceDamned says:

    Just because there are films in “foreign” languages that hit it big, doesn’t mean that Hollywood isn’t king. Here, just like most countries I’ve been to, people tend to not like to watch films in either English or their own language. There are exceptions, of course…
    I’d venture a guess and say that the only two countries where you’re likely to have more than 1/3 of the most popular movies each year not from the USA are S-Korea and India. I’d be glad to be proven wrong though.

  66. gg says:

    I think you can add Japan and France to that list, not sure about other countries.

    Relevant article from Variety:

  67. Nicol D says:

    “Christ, people, must you turn every thread into a Nicol D back-and-forth? He lives to be contrarian, and you’re just feeding the frenzy. Stop acting so shocked by him.”
    With the exception of the whole ‘lives to be a contrarian’ thing…I agree with this post.
    The tones of my posts are, for the most part, far more civil then the ones that usually inspire them or the follow up ones that call me ‘fascist’ or nitpick at my typos by people who make them themselves.
    Trust me, when I write these things I am just offering you my opinion, as a humble lover of film and quiet observer of politics.
    Do I disagree with the majority of opinions here…usually yeah. But that does not mean I only post here to be contarian. I genuinely love film and reading Dave’s posts. I offer my opinions because they are mine.
    And trust me…nobody is more shocked them I at some of the responses I get. At people calling me ‘rude’ or ‘arrogant’ who are among some of the most rude or arrogant posters I have ever read.
    As for the fact that I rarely address my posts to a particular poster…sometimes I do, and if you recall my first posts here, over a year ago, I did address each poster point for point. That became rather time consuming and quite frankly, most of the points against me tend to overlap through so many posts, it seemed rather futile. On most debates here, I am but one and you are but many. I also ingnore the ones that are pure name calling, glib etc.
    I do say this; no malice is ever intended in my posts. When people accuse me of that, it is more an issue of the accuser projecting their bias onto what they read of mine, then any intent on my part.
    I also have posted many times on films but sadly, the ‘no spoiler’ types on these threads effectively mean any meaningful discussion of a film is rendered moot. How can you effectively dissect a film without breaking it down shot for shot, scene by scene?
    Hence most film discussions here degenerate into…
    “Love that flick.”
    “No man, it sucked.”
    I saw The Fountain the other night. A pretty mediocre film, but how can I discuss why without going in depth into specific shots, tones and scenes?
    I would love to never discuss politics again on these boards but sadly a combination of;
    1. No spoiler fetishists
    2. Comments about politics rooted in ignorance
    3. The increased political atmosphere in Hollywood at this point in its history, mean that discussions of film and politics are fairly unavoidable.
    What I cannot understand is this…so many here claim to have a critical or film school background yet rarely do I encounter posters that offer any true insight, breakdown of shots, discussion of a films ideology etc. Dave P will try and then many will blast him for being arrogant or not a reviewer or whatever.
    What gives? Do you not take film more seriously then that?
    The majority of people here still discuss film in a way like it is just entertainment that has no effect on our lives. If you believe that, what seperates you from the average person on this subject? Isn’t the point of studying film to understand it a little better then the average person?
    Did you just think you could watch Star Wars and get cred?
    I guarantee you, I have probably spent more time in a darkened theatre or in front of a stack of videos than many here on these boards. Films aren’t a hobby to me. They are my life. More then many of you care to know and I sure as shit ain’t no lawyer or PR flack as I have been accused.
    I am stunned that my last comment got the rouse it did. But just watching subtitled films doesn’t make one a cineaste.
    It is far more complex then that.

  68. Stella's Boy says:

    Nicol, when you imply that politics are brought up here only because either someone makes an ignorant comment about them or it is an unavoidable part of Hollywood, you prove people right about you. So often you come across as an incredibly arrogant, self-righteous prick. Recently I asked you an honest, simple question and you tore my head off. That isn’t the first time that has happened. Not everyone here is out to get you. You claim you hardly ever read a post that offers any true insight, but one could easily say the same about you. I don’t recall you making any posts with true insight (not implying that I ever have), and you are totally predictable. One can guess exactly what you are going to say about pretty much everything. Enough with the martyr complex. It is ridiculous. I’m certainly not perfect, but quit acting like a complete innocent in all of this. Maybe a lot of people have a problem with you for a good reason. Ever think you may have some blame in this, even a little?

  69. jeffmcm says:

    I think it’s a better idea to give Nicol the benefit of the doubt and believe him (more or less) when he says “when I write these things I am just offering you my opinion, as a humble lover of film and quiet observer of politics.”
    That said, Nicol, please believe me when I say that there’s a disconnect between what you mean to say when you’re typing and what some of us perceive when we’re reading them, which is what I meant when I said ‘it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.’ Take that for what you will.
    Meanwhile, to be honest, this is a bad blog for indepth film analysis. David Poland isn’t really a very insightful critic (just take a look at this year’s top ten list) but he is very good at providing information and analysis about box-office, awards, and general industry news. If you want real indepth cinematic discussion, I think that Cinemarati or Matt Zoller Seitz’s blog or several other places are much better.
    Finally, I think it’s silly to blame political arguments here on Hollywood being ‘more political than ever’ which is demonstrably untrue, as anyone who follows film history could tell you – just in comparison with the late 60s/early 70s (aka, the ‘Hollywood Renaissance’) could tell you. And even if it were true, it would be a good thing; like you say, movies are more than just entertainment. Sure, plenty of filmmakers are glib or superficial, but better something glib that is still about real life than just more fantasy escapism.
    All I really want to say is, I would love to discuss these issues with you: but it has to be a true dialogue, and that involves give and take, and not ending posts with the wag of a finger.

  70. jeffmcm says:

    Hey Nicol, out of curiosity, what are your top ten movies for this year?

  71. Richard Nash says:

    Every regular joe out there laughs at Hollywood when they try to get political. Hollyweird is just out of touch with mainstream America. It really is like a cliche in high school that are really just into themselves. And the media that follows them and reports on everything from what they wear to who they are screwing is the nerdy kids who are desperate for attention.
    The Academy Awards is a throw away event. 8 hours after its over 10% of the country could tell you who won the awards.
    I bet right now 80% couldnt tell you that CRASH won Best Picture last yr.

  72. jeffmcm says:

    Do Rufus Masters and Sanchez think the same way?

  73. Mongoose says:

    Spacesheik –
    You write,”Does anyone you know really like Babel?” Babel has recieved more guild nominations then any other film in the running – Best Picture or otherwise. Obviously a lot of industry people in the guilds, that vote, like Babel. I liked Babel. I have many friends that liked Babel. Why do you ask such dumb questions?

  74. Cadavra says:

    “Stealing a movie’s premise does not make something a remake.”
    No theft, Jeff. All three versions of CHICAGO were based on the same stage play, entitled CHICAGO. The addition of songs doesn’t exempt it as a remake, just as they don’t disqualify MY FAIR LADY (another BP winner) as a remake of PYGMALION, or HIGH SOCIETY as a remake of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, or THE KING AND I…etc., etc., etc.

  75. jeffmcm says:

    Ah, I didn’t know there was a single source for all of them. Never mind.

  76. jeffmcm says:

    Actually, that’s fuzzy. We wouldn’t say that every Frankenstein movie is a remake of the Karloff version (or for that matter, the Edison version).

  77. Cadavra says:

    Well, a remake is usually predicated on plot rather than characters. So using your example, Kenneth Branagh’s FRANKENSTEIN would be considered a remake, but, say, FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED! would not.

  78. jeffmcm says:

    But I don’t think either one counts as a remake, because Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein doesn’t really have much in common with, say, James Whale’s Frankenstein; rather, it’s his adaptation of the original novel. So Chicago (2002) may be a remake of the original movie, but it may also have ignored those and just started from scratch with the musical as source material.

  79. Cadavra says:

    Whale’s version may not have been as faithful to the novel as Branagh’s, but the basic story elements are the same. As for CHICAGO, all three versions have the identical plot–Roxie kills her lover and becomes a media darling when shyster Billy Flynn takes her case–differing only in particulars: e.g., Velma only briefly appears in the 1927 version, the 1942 version (ROXIE HART) is told in flashback by a reporter who covered the case, and of course the 2002 version has singing and dancing (and even it differs from the stage musical in that the latter was told from Velma’s POV, not Roxie’s, resulting in the loss of five songs sung or co-sung by Velma).

  80. jeffmcm says:

    Sure, but then the question becomes, what is a remake? Obviously, something like A Star is Born has had two remakes because the basic situation and characters of the remakes of 1954 and 1976 are basically the same. Meanwhile, Cameron’s Titanic is not a remake of the 1953 Titanic because even though they’re both on the same ship, the characters and underlying themes are not the same. Chicago seems to fall into some gray middle ground because the characters and themes are the same even though Rob Marshall and co. may not have been reaching back to the original material.

  81. Is The Producers an adaptation of the musical or a remake of the film with songs?

  82. Cadavra says:

    Actually, it’s both.

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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