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David Poland

By David Poland


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19 Responses to “Direct-To-Bad-Journalism”

  1. I don’t really have anything of worth to say other than the direct-to-dvd market has been getting very strange here lately. Movies that went theatrical in America are skipping it here and just being released on DVD months later. Movies like Bug, The Lookout, Romance & Cigarettes, Year of the Dog. Add that to the piles of Asian horror films and lame American sequels I suppose.
    But it’s good because I wouldn’t have spent $14 on them at the cinema anyway. Shame we still have to wait half a year for them.

  2. luxofthedraw says:

    David, is there a difference in your mind between movies made specifically for direct to dvd and movies with a dvd premiere?

  3. eoguy says:

    Does anybody have an old story on that Weinstein/Blockbuster lawsuit? I did a quick search online but couldn’t come up with anything. I’d like to know more about it.

  4. Direwolf says:

    Nothing to add here but wanted to publicly thank DP for inviting myself and my daughter to join him and his friends for dinner one night at Sundance. It was a very nice thing to do and he and his friends made us feel right at home.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Speaking of bad journalism — this is from the Reuters story announcing that Crash will spin off a weekly series for the Starz network:
    “The new project would mark only the second time a best film Oscar winner has been made into a TV series. The first was the 1967 film In the Heat of the Night, another movie with strong racial themes that debuted as a CBS drama two decades later.”
    Uh, no. Try Going My Way (1944), which spun off a 1962-63 series version with Gene Kelly in the Bing Crosby role.
    I would also add The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), but, to be fair, the 1963-64 series with Jack Palance realy had little in common with the original film other than a title.

  6. Joe Leydon says:

    And, of course, there were TWO different attempts to turn Casablanca into a series. But the less said about them, the better.

  7. Cadavra says:

    And one more: FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, which was remade in 1979 as a mini-series, which in turn spun off a short-lived weekly series. It starred Don Johnson, William Devane, Barbara Hershey and a young Kim Basinger in the roles originally played by, respectively, Clift, Lancaster, Kerr and Reed. (Devane and Basinger carried over from the mini-series, in which Natalie Wood played the Kerr role; she obviously would not commit to a series.)

  8. LYT says:

    How do you do Crash as a series? I thought a large part of the movie’s appeal was the way it all came full circle rather than being open-ended.
    Do the same people each week realize how racist they are, then forget by the following week so they can learn it again?

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    Cadavra: Good catch. Didn’t think about that one.

  10. Rob says:

    I think they should take the Sandra Bullock storyline and turn into a sitcom about a wacky socialite and the Latina maid she occasionally spoons with. Kind of like the Megan Mullally character on Will & Grace.
    It could be called “You’re My Best Frieeeeeend!”

  11. Earl Hofert says:

    My guess is that they will use the same template that was deployed for the late, great “Red Shoe Diaries”–every week, someone will write a letter to David Duchovny (hey, he’s done double TV duty before)in which they confess that they never thought about racism before and it will segue into a tale that reminds us that Racism Is Bad.

  12. Earl Hofert says:

    Also, there will also be a recurring weekly bit in which Sandra Bullock takes a header down a flight of stairs a la Kenny in “South Park.”

  13. David Poland says:

    Yes, Lux… mostly.
    Of course, there is low-end filmmaking that hopes for a theatrical and there is high-aspiring filmmaking that hopes for a theatrical. They are different, obviously.
    There is a new strata, created by Disney in one way and then Sony Home Ent in another.
    One thing I forgot to mention in my piece is that the key point of transition, in my view, was when DVD release marketing budgets passed the $10 million mark. New ballgame.
    But if you are more specific, I will be more specific in my response.

  14. Joe Leydon says:

    FYI: I wrote this piece nearly eight years ago about the “stars” of made-for-video movies. Anyone care to add new names?

  15. Earl Hofert says:

    Seagal and Snipes immediately leap to mind

  16. THX5334 says:

    I’ve never been into Direct to DVD.
    But, I am excited at the prospect of the discussion of taking popular television shows that have been or going to be canceled, and continuing the stories in Direct to DVD movies.
    Battlestar Galactica has had great success with their Razor DVD (I lurved it) and there is talks of continuing with more DVD’s when the series ends next season.
    I believe they are doing the same with Babylon 5.
    I would love to see something like this happen with the Firefly franchise, since they’re not going to do any more features.
    A little off topic, but many of my non-cinephile friends keep bringing up Serenity and how much they love it after catching it on cable.
    Is it me, or is Serenity becoming one of those films that got missed at theatres, but is gaining real cult status and mas respect?
    I know we’ve discussed films like this here before. It seems Serenity is the latest and greatest.

  17. David Poland says:

    It seems to me that Serenity was right at the tipping point of the major sea change that DVD brought to TV.
    If you have a strong enough niche, shows that were once losers can now be winners. They still don’t have a place on network TV… the same way that many Direct-To-DVD films don’t have the juice to support a theatrical, even if they are DVD hits.
    I am not a fan of Serenity… but then again, I was not a fan of Firefly. But it’s not about me at all.
    It’s ironic that in the media, we excuse many of the major losers because they open big but dismiss the weak openers even when they become cash cows.
    Remember… Juno, which just crossed $100 million, will be amongst the 10 most profitable films of 2007, along with 300, Knocked Up, Superbad, The Simpsons, and Ratatouille.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    Didn’t Ratatouille cost significantly more than any of those others?

  19. “Do the same people each week realize how racist they are, then forget by the following week so they can learn it again?”
    That actually made me laugh out loud. Thank you LYT. I have to go to work in 10 minutes but that put a smile on my face.

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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