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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – Pre-Christmas Week

Ho ho… anyone left in town?

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28 Responses to “BYOB – Pre-Christmas Week”

  1. Aris P says:

    Judging by the time it took me to get to Burbank this morning, the answer to your question is yes.

  2. David Poland says:

    Ewwwww… real people!
    Actually, I have been surprised by how many people have chosen to stay in town over the holidays this year. Heavy hangs the season.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Could it be that many folks are sticking around to make contingency plans regarding the ongoing and (possibly) forthcoming strikes?

  4. lazarus says:

    I’m coming BACK to Los Angeles for the holidays. Does that count?
    If you were working in central Florida for a couple months, you’d want to come home too.

  5. jeffmcm says:


  6. lazarus says:


  7. IOIOIOI says:

    Shenanigans. Pure and utter shenanigans.

  8. I just got home from Best Buy (had to get my Superbad DVD) and man, I finally saw a movie on Blue-Ray disc. Holy SHIT! I have a nice big plasma TV and a DVD player and in my mind, I never really thought the quality could be *that* improved. But as I was walking the isles they had Pirates 3 playing and I literally did a double take as it looked like you could reach in and touch the characters. Really, really impressive.
    I want to buy one now but my issue is, I don’t really watch alot of brand new movies on DVD. I tend to lean more towards classics and criterion stuff (what can I say, I’m a snob) and I don’t know what movies I’d actually want to watch repeatedly on blue ray disc. Sure as shit isn’t Pirates or Spidey 3 and those are the kinds of movies that this new format was made for.

  9. Noah says:

    Petaluma, I just wrote about getting a PS3 in my column this week. I think a Blu-Ray (or HD-DVD, whatever your preference) is great for the upconverting of older discs like Lawrence of Arabia. I think the upconverted standard DVDs almost look as good as the Blu-Rays. But watch out for those in-store displays, especially when they do the compare and contrast with regular DVD players because the “regular DVD player” is usually not even progressive scan.
    Anyway, I’ve watched a few Criterion movies with the Blu-Ray and they look much better and crisper than they did on my progressive scan standard DVD player.

  10. But are they closer to making a bluray player that can also play regular “old fashioned” DVDs? Cause I like my collection thank you.

  11. Noah says:

    That’s what I was saying, Glenn. Both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are backwards compatible and play standard DVDs, but it upconverts them so they appear to have more lines of resolution and as a result, your “old fashioned DVDs” look a lot better than they did on an “old fashioned” DVD player. I’m really only going to buy Blu-Ray discs when I’m positive that the extra lines of resolution will make the picture extra sharp (like Harry Potter, for example). But I was surprised by how good the regular DVD for Superbad looked on the PS3.

  12. ThriceDamned says:

    “…and as a result, your “old fashioned DVDs” look a lot better than they did on an “old fashioned” DVD player.”
    “…the upconverted standard DVDs almost look as good as the Blu-Rays”
    It’s not even up for debate my friend. A blu-ray disc has SIX TIMES the resolution of a DVD, and a DVD, no matter what you do to it, will at no point and never even approach the quality of an HD disc (whether blu-ray or hd-dvd). It’s just an absurd statement that has no basis in fact or reality. If your eyes tell you that, go see a doctor.
    And Petaluma…it’s actually the classics that benefit the most from the high definition treatment in my opinion. I’ve bought several older films in HD, and in almost all cases it felt like I was seeing them for the very first time, revealing details, sharpness and color that is just not possible to replicate on DVD. For instance, “The Searchers” literally had me gasping, the quality was so unbelievable. I’ve posted about this several times, but I’m just so in love with HD (I have both formats) and what it does for home viewing that it’s not even funny.

  13. ThriceDamned says:

    After posting, I read your column Noah. If your TV is only 720p/1080i, you’re not seeing full HD, and is almost certainly what is accounting for your reaction.
    For clarification for those less technically minded, 720p/1080i is about 3 times the resolution of DVD and is the resolution most older HDTV’s can handle, while full HD (called 1080p) is 6 times the resolution of DVD and the one most new HDTV’s have built in.

  14. Jerry Colvin says:

    At the end of the scene in I Am Legend where Wil is leaving the lions in peace, there is a rather large poster for a Superman-Batman movie coming out in 2009. Was this the original plan at one time? Will it ever happen now, or is Justice League taking its slot?

  15. Noah says:

    Thrice, I have seen the results on 1080p and I think the difference is startling, but the difference in price between regular DVD and Blu-Ray discs is also startling. I think my regular DVDs that have been upconverted look a lot better than they did on my progressive scan player, so I only want to buy the Blu-Ray discs for movies where the difference will be important. Upconverted regular DVDs are still preferable to standard DVDs on a standard player and I think this is reason alone to buy a Blu-Ray player.
    So, from a viewer’s standpoint I agree with you that the difference between watching HD and upconverted standard DVD is unbelievable, but from a price standpoint the cost of Blu-Ray discs (30 bucks compared to the 16 or 17 bucks of a standard DVD on amazon) can be prohibitive.

  16. ThriceDamned says:

    Fair enough. I was simply reacting to the statement that upconverted DVD’s were almost as good as HD discs, which is clearly not the case. I however concede that they are quite a bit more expensive (although I can’t see that as a discussion point anywhere above).
    Still, both camps (blu-ray and hd-dvd) have been running “buy one, get one free” on Amazon constantly. I have been using those extensively (to the tune of being on the verge of buying my 100th HD film, on top of more than 1200 DVD’s), and have been paying about 12 dollars on average per HD film.

  17. Noah says:

    Yeah, I think considering my TV only outputs 1080i, the gap isn’t as wide between the upconverts and the Blu-Ray, so it hasn’t been worth the price. But you are right, if all your settings are optimal, it’s really hard to go back to watching anything in standard defintion.

  18. The Pope says:

    Apologies in advance because I know this is off topic (although my excuse is that there is a discussion about DVD / HD / Blu-ray). I picked up the new Final Cut 5 Disc series of Blade Runner. Fascinating as the documentaries are, the one person I was amazed NOT to see interviewed was David Fincher. Maybe he wasn’t available… but come on… really? I mean they have Del Toro and Darabont and that guy who did Torque.

  19. ployp says:

    5 Discs series of Blade Runner?
    What did they put in there? Every version of the movie that was released? Wow…

  20. So wait, just so I’m clear….
    You (Thrice) are saying you saw THE SEARCHERS on DVD or Blue Ray? How is DVD quality on a Blue-Ray player…..the same as any normal DVD?
    I was in San Francisco today and stopped by the Metreon and was seriously inches away from my wallet, about to buy a PS3 because I play games occasionally AND it has blue ray capabilities….for the same price or cheaper than a plain old blue ray player! Is the PS3 blue ray of equal quality to a regular player?? The guy in the Playstation store said it was and if you play games at all AND want blue ray, a P3S is a no brainer. Plus, they have a deal through January 1 that if you get a PS3, you get FIVE free blue ray DVD’s.
    Anything wrong with that deal??
    And, thanks for the input. I tuned out during the last talk about all this because I didn’t think the quality would be so much better. Wrong was I.

  21. Noah says:

    Petaluma, a regular DVD will look BETTER on a Blu-Ray player than it does on a regular DVD player, as long as you have a HD television. The Blu-Ray player in the PS3 is just as good as a stand-alone Blu-Ray player, perhaps even better (but don’t forget to factor in another forty bucks for HDMI cable to hook it up to your television, otherwise you won’t see the benefit of the extra lines of resolution).
    If you play games and want a Blu-Ray player, it’s a no-brainer. Get the PS3, it’s a great deal, plus most places offer five to ten free Blu-Ray discs with the PS3.

  22. Ehhhhxcellent.
    Fortuitously, I ahve to go to SF again Friday.
    Oh, and today I saw JUNO and liked it alot. At first the dialogue was a lil too precious and cutesy, but it seemed to back down. But I will say, as a 30-something male, I’m sick of the coolest chicks in movies being ages 14-16. Juno (the girl) was alot like the Natalie Portman character in BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.
    No teen girls have those tastes and NO women or girls talk like that *all* the time. Trust me, I like girls and those are like…..lolita girls for smart dorks to like, wait around to see if they’re still single when they turn 18. Not cool.
    I also saw I AM LEGEND and dug it…but the first 6 mins of DARK KNIGHT….ohhhhhhh boy.

  23. frankbooth says:

    Maybe someone can tell me how HD or Blu-Ray compares to DVD when it comes to night scenes. On regular DVD, they often look worse than they did on tape. Posterization, hard edges, all that stuff. It drives me nuts.

  24. Noah says:

    Night scenes are definitely clearer in Blu-Ray, Frank. I got the latest Harry Potter flick on Blu-Ray and the first ten minutes are so are very dark, but the image is so crisp and clean. But, that’s the only example I can think of at the moment.

  25. ThriceDamned says:

    Petaluma: Yes, I saw The Searchers on blu-ray, and trust me, no DVD will EVER compare. And also yes, the PS3 is generally considered to be the best blu-ray player on the market. It loads faster (because of the unbelievable processing power of the thing), and is extremely upgradeable. They’ve added new features and content to it constantly since it came out. Spring for it, you won’t regret it. Just keep in mind like Noah said, that you need either an HDMI cable or a component cable to be able to utilize all the resolution.
    Frank: Nightscenes (and shadow detail in general) are what benefit the most from HD (well that and everything else really). Black is inky black, white is snow white, and neither “crushes” like on DVD. You know, when it all just turns into a sort of nondescript mush. For instance, on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, or The Thing, that both take place in snow and ice, you’re always able to see the texture, contours and composition of the snow in HD. On DVD (and I have both versions and have compared) this is not the case. The snow and ice is just a white sort of blob without any real features.
    It makes an incredible difference, more than you’d think.

  26. Awesome, Thrice and Noah….thanks you guys. My pocketbook hates you but my spoiled inner child looks forward to buying it and relegating my wii to the back of the console.

  27. Cadavra says:

    I myself am taking my first real vacation in 3 1/2 years tomorrow, and will be gone for two weeks and change in a place where internet access is unlikely. Please try to behave yourselves in my absence. Happy Holidays!

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    Cadavra: Happy Holidays to you as well. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. And if you do, don’t get caught.

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