MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

20 Weeks 20 – Auld Lang Syne

“All last night, Fox ran promos for “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” and for those of us who are still revving our engines on this, the answer is not a nice one. A 5th grader knows he/she wants ice cream, cake, no bath, and an open bedtime. We have such an abundance of likeable films and likeable people that we don’t know what we want.
I gotta say, I am looking forward to the Independent Spirit Awards more than the Oscars for the first time in a long while. And it’s not just because Yerxa and Berger will get their awards along with the other producers at that event. (Oh

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12 Responses to “20 Weeks 20 – Auld Lang Syne”

  1. Direwolf says:

    Nice sign-off, DP.
    I’ve asked twice now without an answer but I’ll give it one more shot. What does anyone think about how closely so many scenes in The Departed matched Infernal Affairs. Does this impact anyone’s view of The Departed as far as Oscar is concerned. Is this unusual or normal for critically acclaimed remakes?
    It seemed to me that even sets were deliberately similar such as the police station. And of course, the rooftop sequence for Martin Sheen chracter and the elevator sequence for Leo’s.
    Anyhow, I never took a film class and don’t know anything about remakes or how films and directors are judged so any input is greatly appreciated.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think it matters much as far as the Oscars are concerned because I doubt that any significant number of the voters have ever seen or even heard of Infernal Affairs.
    It’s also not unlike Scorsese’s remake of Cape Fear – similar, even very similar in some respects, but ultimately both remakes are completely Scorsese movies in the final analysis.

  3. Direwolf says:

    Thanks, Jeff. Sort of sad if Oscar voters have never seen or even heard of Infernal Affairs. It would be nice if they were informed but people often vote or have opinions on stuff about which they aren’t informed.
    On the one hand, maybe they would wonder as I do about the similarities. On the other hand, the fact that Scorsese can make it his own says a huge amount given that Infernal Affairs is so well regarded in its own right.
    I’d still love to learn and hear more.

  4. The Carpetmuncher says:

    I’ve seen both Infernal Affairs and The Departed and they are indeed very similar, but I’m not sure it’s gonna impact the voting at all, though what do I know…
    I can say that I finally saw The Departed again last night and it played even better than it did when I saw it in the theatres. While I’m a Babel and Little Children apologista, I gotta say The Departed is the best (and my favorite film) of the year.
    And I think The Departed is actually gonna take this thing. Picture, Director, Writer, Editor…
    Just a Great Freaking Film. As my friend said watching it for the first time, what do people have against this thing? Movie making doesn’t get much more exciting…

  5. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Oh yeah – and even with all the incredible male acting in The Departed – that testosterone ensemble is one of the best ever – any film that introduces Vera Farmiga to a wide audience deserves some sort of award. I’ve since seen her in three other films and she’s never less than brilliant. What a discovery.

  6. Arnzilla says:

    “It seemed to me that even sets were deliberately similar such as the police station. And of course, the rooftop sequence for Martin Sheen chracter and the elevator sequence for Leo’s.”
    Direwolf, the major plot elements match up pretty well, but the characters, attitude, and atmosphere of TD are so steeped in a particular point of view, the two films are quite divergent. I’ve watched both films and they certainly don’t “feel” the same. IA doesn’t feel like a Scorsese gangster film because it just isn’t funny. TD is funnier than Goodfellas and more tragic than Casino. But IA takes itself soooooooooooooo seriously and annoyingly wears its hipness on its tr

  7. Daniel Tayag says:

    There’s a reason why Lau uses that schmaltzy pop song. The audience in HK loves it. They love the melodramtic stuff. I prefer IA but I love TD and I hope it wins the Best Pic over the craptacular Babel. One thing though, I prefer the ending of IA over Departed any day. They are both the only ways that both films could have ended but the look that Andy Lau has in the last shot still haunts me.

  8. Direwolf says:

    Thanks, also to Arnzilla, Carpetmuncher, and Daniel. These are just the sort of insights I was looking for. The subtle stuff you all notice goes beyond what my casual viewing picks up. Thanks again.

  9. Aladdin Sane says:

    I have grudgingly admitted that Babel isn’t as bad as I thought it was at first. Still, it’s not my preference for Best Pic. The Departed still leads the pack, followed by: Letters, The Queen, Babel and LMS. Really, please let it be anything but LMS. I can live with that.

  10. Kambei says:

    The Departed & Infernal Affairs have very different feels. Both Andy Lau and Tony Leung are ten years (or so) older than Leo and Matt, and the characters they play have been undercover for 10 years (although Tony’s character has not been in the Jack Nicholson’s character’s organization for that long), not the 1 year in The Departed. This makes it a tad more believable when the big boss doesn’t just immediately shoot the Leo/Tony character when he hears there is a mole in his organization. It also heightens the internal conflict of the Leo/Tony character as he truly has a hard time remembering and connecting to the fact he is a police officer. I also agree that Infernal Affairs takes itself far more seriously than The Departed does. The Departed was one of the funnier movies I saw last year. I’m not sure that its being a remake should be a detraction in any way, as it feels like a wholly different film. However, the PR effort that has been put into distancing it from the Hong Kong original seems a bit disingenius. I don’t believe the claim that no one involved with the film, or even just Scorsese or Monahan saw the original. Riiiiiight.

  11. noni says:

    All I know is this, when I left The Quad on thirteenth street I was just looking for somebody to whack. If that doesn’t spell success I don’t what does. By the way I am in town and can be found.

  12. Crow T Robot says:

    Oh what the hell: I’m gonna say The Queen, the real “little movie that could” and the only truly great one in the running, will win.

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