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David Poland

By David Poland

Bring Your Own Friday Blog

The weekend is coming… does anyone old enough to spell care about Horton Hears A Who?
Does anyone really care about Garry Shandling’s ugly divorce from T-Pel?
Wouldn’t it be nice to skip to May?
Is there a reason why we have to be treated to an idiotic survey that states the obvious every single frickin’ spring??? (The wider the audience interest – which things like profanity, nufdity, and the use of your brain limits – the higher the gross. F-in’ DUH already!!!!)

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14 Responses to “Bring Your Own Friday Blog”

  1. LexG says:

    It’s going to OWN. So is DOOMSDAY.
    Skip to May? F that. Banner weekend at the cinema:
    Paranoid Park
    Snow Angels
    Why are critics such weak sissies? Should you guys be desensitized to violence? Amused to see all these milquetoast, tweedy tools trying to out-do each other with their tales of being RATTLED and SHAKEN by GAMES.
    Violence RULES.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    Funny Games – at least the original version – isn’t about being ‘rattled and shaken’ by violence, it’s about Haneke mocking the audience for being rattled and shaken by the violence he depicts.

  3. LexG says:

    Sure, but tell that to these other 348 douchified “adults” in the theater who’ll no doubt be tsking and gasping and tittering and squirming like a bunch of right tools.
    Anyway, I’m more RATTLED AND SHAKEN that Funny Games has been booked seemingly only in the smallest, least-attended movie theaters in L.A.
    What, the Arclight, Grove and Vista weren’t DOWN WITH THE GAMES????
    This positively forces me to see it at a Laemmle’s with no personal space.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    Well, bring extra paper towels for all the seepage.

  5. CaptainZahn says:

    I’m not planning on seeing Horton at the theater, but it’s getting some solid reviews. Even Slant Magazine praised it, and they don’t like anything.

  6. scarper86 says:

    Played hooky and saw Paranoid Park today. Non-professional actors don’t add a sense of authenticity, they just come across like people trying to do something they can’t do very well which is distracting and constantly reminds me that I’m not watching something that’s real. If Gus has trouble finding kid actors who don’t mug for the camera, he needs a new casting director. There are great, natural teen actors around. Anyway loved everything else about it though and the lead kid worked okay since he was playing someone out of his element.
    My nephew might drag me to Horton.

  7. Noah says:

    Is it possible, Scarper, that your perception of what is “real” in the movies isn’t necessarily what is “real” in real-life? I, of course, loved the movie but I think you bring up an interesting point. For me, I DID find that it added a layer of authenticity because Alex seemed like a real kid whereas someone like Juno rings false to be because she doesn’t seem real. Yet many people fell in love with her because she seemed realistic to them. I just wonder if a lifetime of watching movies makes us believe that “reality” needs to contain a little bit of artifice in order to appear more realistic.

  8. christian says:

    HORTON looks great, sounds awful. Carina had the perfect LA Times review, noting that the constant sarcasm and insincerity (that made me cringe in the trailer) is the opposite of Seuss, but de rigeur for these kids films made by cynical smug adults who should know better.

  9. scarper86 says:

    Noah, I see what you mean but where Juno might not have been an “authentic” portrayal of a teenage girl, it was a satisfying performance because it worked within the world of that film for me. In Paranoid Park, however, the performances were also “inauthentic” but in a different way. In PP it was because of poor acting skills. They seemed awkward and uncomfortable and frequently (just as in Elephant) you could see the actors trying very hard to pretend there wasn’t a camera and a film crew staring back at them. That’s not authenticity to me.
    Having said that, I think Gabe Nevins was the only one who worked. His awkwardness worked for his character, but for others like Lauren McKinney who played Macy it was a cringe-inducing performance like watching a bad high school play.
    I work with teenagers every day and I’ve never met any who talk or behave like amateur actors in a Gus Van Sant film. So when he tries to sell it to me as “real” because they’re not trained actors, it just seems doubly disingenuous. It’s not a documentary so the “reality” is that he _is_ asking them to act, they’re just doing it badly.

  10. jeffmcm says:

    That was the same problem I had with Cloverfield – in a more ‘Hollywood’ movie its performances might have worked, but since they were allegedly ‘real people’ they came off as very phony.
    But I had absolutely no problem with the performances in Elephant so hopefully that’ll be the same this time.

  11. Noah says:

    See, Scarper, I agree with you in principle (as in, I hate when movies don’t deliver characters that are realistic relative to the world the movie creates) but I don’t agree in this case.
    I wasn’t a teenager that long ago and I remember the isolation sure, but I also remember how incredibly awkward I was. When I look back on it now, I also remember how awkward my contemporaries were, not just in how they dressed but in the way in which they spoke. And I think Van Sant nails that this time, just as he does in Elepehant. The actors in Paranoid Park are given considerably more dialogue than the ones in Elephant and I think they get all of the mannerisms right. From the way in which Macy tries to get “political” or the way she tries to be “funny” to the ways in which Alex’s girlfriend (who is played by a professional actress named Taylor Momsen) responds to his odd behavioral shifts.
    I don’t know, perhaps the movie hewed closer to my teenage experience, but I guess we just disagree in this case.

  12. “f Gus has trouble finding kid actors who don’t mug for the camera, he needs a new casting director.”
    I don’t think that’s what Gus Van Sant wants at all. If they “mug for the camera” he’d probably think they were all wrong for the part.

  13. scarper86 says:

    Noah, I think we just responded differently to the performances. I liked the film except for what I found were unconvincing performances. I think I just found the mannerisms came from acting awkwardness rather than teenage awkwardness which felt phony to me. I still think it was a well-made film. It was like listening to a great song in which a guitar was slightly out of tune.
    Kamikaze, that was my point. He said in an interview that he went with non-actors because trained kid actors mugged too much.

  14. Chucky in Jersey says:

    LexG, “Funny Games” is going out arthouse/upmarket. I presume there are not that many megaplexes in Cali that handle arty films.
    Ahhh, the joys of living in New Jersey …

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