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David Poland

By David Poland

Hot Button – No, The Stars Are Getting Smaller

I feel a burning urge to respond to Anne Thompson

29 Responses to “Hot Button – No, The Stars Are Getting Smaller”

  1. mutinyco says:

    Even EWS, which you noted as being a disappointment, still pulled $160M worldwide…

  2. Dr Wally says:

    I lost that article completely when Anne started on Angelina Jolie. I mean seriously, that woman could not open a bottle of Coke. Great riposte from Dave. I often think movie ‘stardom’ in the eyes of the media is less about getting people into theaters, and more about coverage in the glossies. Why is Scarlett Johannsson considered a bigger ‘movie star’ than Rachel Mcadams? Why is Jude Law considered a ‘movie star’ but, say, Jason Statham, is not? It’s not about box-office these days, it’s about column inches.

  3. martin says:

    I think there’s a difference between a celebrity and a movie star. Actors like Jude Law and Angelina Jolie may not get audiences into theaters for their acting/movie-stardom, but they do get a lot of attention in the tabloids for their celebrity. An example is someone like Will Smith or Tom Hanks, who large #’s of moviegoers genuinely want to see act in a movie, whereas you have a Jude Law or an Angelina who people genuinely want to read about in the gossip pages. This is not a matter of talent or lack of talent, but just how they have positioned themselves to the public, and it’s hard to break out of that box once you’ve become successful in it.

  4. martin says:

    Also, it should be mentioned that the tabloid-appeal will cross over to movie box office, when the movie itself plays off of that such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Even something like Wanted seems to play very trashy and will appeal to some extent to that gossip-page audience.

  5. Minor ‘correction’…
    Harrison Ford had back to back $100 million hits at least one other time, with The Fugitive ($183 million) in 1993, followed by Clear & Present Danger ($120 million) in 1994.
    The closest he had to a ‘run’ was from 1992-2000. He had Patriot Games ($84 million), The Fugitive ($183 million), Clear & Present Danger ($120 million), Sabrina ($55 million – not the flop it’s considered), The Devil’s Own (yes, an over-budgeted flop at $42 million), Air Force One ($171 million), Six Days Seven Nights ($75 million – again not a flop in the least), Random Hearts (yes, a flop at $31 million, but also not a movie that even Will Smith could turn into a hit, in my opinion), then finishing off with the popular What Lies Beneath ($156 million).
    From there on in, alas, it was $30-50 million grossers until Indy 4. Although I still maintain that Hollywood Homicide is one of the funniest films he’s done and he’s great in it.
    The problem with Harrison Ford is that all of his alleged fans carp that he never tries anything different, yet, they scream in horror when he does (Random Hearts, Devils Own, K19, Hollywood Homicide, etc), thus forcing him to retreat to his safety zone (Firewall, Indy 4).

  6. Hopscotch says:

    They scream in horror when Ford does something different because he’s usually god-awful in those films. Devils Own and Random Hearts I couldnt’ finish.
    I have heard he’s quite wonderful in the Mosquito Coast.

  7. repeatfather says:

    The thing about Mosquito Coast is that, yes, Harrison Ford’s performance is brilliant, but the character is absolutely excruciating. I couldn’t stand him or the movie.

  8. Roman says:

    “As for Downey

  9. LexG says:

    Today’s LA Times actually made a point of referring to GET SMART as Anne Hathaway’s “highest weekend opening.”
    Yes, she’s the female lead and a name actress (and awesome of course)… but does anyone really consider GET SMART “an Anne Hathaway movie”?
    It’s such a gray area as to what constitutes a true show of “star power” versus a movie that just incidentally happens to feature a certain actor. Demi Moore used to somehow get “A Few Good Men” included in her laundry list of box-office achievements… and even this otherwise excellent article mentions both “Hook” and “Flatliners” in discussing Julia Roberts.

  10. I appreciated Random Hearts more than I liked or enjoyed it. It’s a dark, difficult, messy movie and I forgive it its flaws because I thought it was an interesting take on the subject matter (I’ll probably never watch it again, but it was worth watching once).
    As for The Devil’s Own, it’s not a masterpiece, but it gets better as it goes along and the last act has some truly meaty material. And, once again, an actor (Brad Pitt) got roasted for doing an actually authentic Irish accent instead of the usual lucky charms bit that most US audiences are used to. The same thing happened to Tom Cruise in Far & Away. Not great movies, but nothing wrong with the accent work.
    K19 and Firewall were lousy, and he was lousy in them. But again, for a different Harrison Ford, try the above mentioned Mosquito Coast or Hollywood Homicide. In a summer of great vehicle chases – Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3, Bad Boys 2 – the big chase in Hollywood Homicide was my favorite, as it used real stunts and was funny to boot.
    If anyone would have the decency to cast Ford in an out and out comedy, tapping into the weird, self-depreciating humor on display when he guests on Conan O’Brian, they’d have a huge hit on their hands.

  11. THX5334 says:

    Poland, why don’t you just come out and say what no one wants to admit:
    The star system has crashed and burned and is even more OVER than the academy awards…

  12. Rothchild says:

    Wait, did you just bring up the Academy Awards?

  13. martin says:

    It’s always Oscar season here at MCN.

  14. IOIOIOI says:

    DAMN IT! IT’S NOT OSCAR SEASON ON THIS PLACE UNTIL TORONTO! No early Oscar talk. All that is holy… give me two more months of solid or week opening discussions, Dark Knight discussion, and Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2. Yeah, I go there.
    Nevertheless, it’s too early tos tate what the effect of Iron-Man will have on Downey’s career. If you remember properly Iron Hater (Heat’s new nickname because of his full fled hatred of Iron Man… without hyphen because it makes the SSoS lose it), Tobey was really not much until Spider-Man. Heck… he’s not much now without Spidey, but the guy is starting a family.
    Let us contrast this with Downey. Whose really in the prime of his life. After previously squandering the prime of his life 10 years ago. Women find him hot, men want to be him, and he plays a rather iconic character now.
    Do you really want to bet against TONY STARK from here on out? Really? I think you need to re-evaluate this decision of your’s Iron Hater. It’s not like you have not been WRONG… WRONG… one more for the peeps… WRONG about everything releated to Iron Man. So why stop the losing streak? Does someone need a hump-buster? I think he does.
    Oh yeah… how can you have movie stars in this cultural climate? We build people up and knock them down in the time most of the established stars had build a career. Do you really think Bossom Buddies Hanks’ would have found a career in this day in age?
    It’s just a different world now. It’s more about the movie than the star. The day may come when we have a huge international movie star again, but this may have to do with man or woman then the world around him or her.

  15. IOIOIOI says:

    If you notice with the first paragraph. The mere mention of Oscar season drove me into a tizzy. I apologize for my outrage, and will try to control my anger in the future.

  16. martin says:

    IO, this is a serious question, are you on drugs? Either prescribed or self-prescribed, just curious.

  17. IOIOIOI says:

    Martin, it’s cunt responses such as the one above that makes me want to throttle the lot of you. Seriously… you have to be a cunt to even think something like that (Oh wow… I can be silly like MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET! Good lord. Some of you people act as if you have never once thought of a silly thought in your entire freakin lives. It boggles my mind that you all are so fucking serious, that you have a hard time with someone being silly on a blog ran by DAVID POLAND OF ALL PEOPLE! The guy is sillier than I have ever been), and you are even cuntier if you are trying to be funny. It’s not fun. It’s not funny. It’s ridiculous. Fuck you, sir. Fuck you, very much.

  18. IOIOIOI says:

    I do not suffer foolishness, but this blog is full of fools. FOOLS who somehow get paid to work in the BIZ. I am at a loss as to how some of you get through the day without going on this blog or Wells’ blog, and being assholes to people. It is absolutely astounding to me that grown adults act this way. If you are looking to cast aspersions. You really need to pull a Michael Jackson, look in the mirror, and let’s move the fuck on.
    You people are fucking astouding. The hell with this thread. Bring on something else, IH.

  19. IOIOIOI says:

    Sorry for coming off so Myerish. My bad. Carry on… wayward sons.

  20. martin says:

    There’s nothing wrong with taking drugs, I just think you’re on the wrong ones. Some suggestions: Adderall for your ADD and lithium for your bipolar disorder.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, I beg of you, stop using the c-word. It makes you look like a terrible person prone to fits of insane rage.

  22. LexG says:

    IO, “Iron Hater” is awesome.
    Even though I’m mildly indifferent to that movie and don’t even believe DP actually “hates” it, there’s something absurdly amusing about that, just like most of IO’s giddy vernacular.

  23. Joe Leydon says:

    I just got back from seing “Hancock,” and all I can say is: Don’t read anything else about the movie before you see it. Not even supposedly spoiler-free postings on this blog and others. Don’t read reviews (well, don’t read any except mine, because I can guarantee I won’t spill any beans) and don’t even talk to friends who have seen preview screenings. Seriously. I walked in knowing virtually nothing about the plot — and I am ever so glad I did. There has been some bogus info about the plot posted here and elsewhere already — so be careful where and what you glance at.

  24. David Poland says:

    Agreed, Joe… though I was careful about avoiding any real info in the piece I just wrote and posted.

  25. David Poland says:

    P.S. Much of the “bad information” wasn’t bad. But they changed the film, which is why test screening reviews are bullshit.

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    David: I would say your posting is safe to read. (I know that sounds like the most left-handed of compliments, but I can’t be any more specific without, well, spoiling the very thing you reference.)But I repeat: Folks who haven’t seen the film, and who want to enjoy it to the fullest, should avoid certain postings — and, to be honest, certain other blogs. To be brutally frank, it’s movies like this that make me regret the creation of the blogosphere.

  27. IO, not sure if you’re bothering with this thread anymore, but…
    “Do you really want to bet against TONY STARK from here on out? Really? I think you need to re-evaluate this decision of your’s Iron Hater. It’s not like you have not been WRONG… WRONG… one more for the peeps… WRONG about everything releated to Iron Man. So why stop the losing streak? Does someone need a hump-buster? I think he does.”
    David says to not bank on “Tony Stark” in movies that aren’t Iron Man, which is a very fair call. Johnny Depp got solid grosses out of Secret Window, Mexico etc post-Pirates, but nothing since has even approaching the grosses of Pirates apart from Chocolate Factory. He’s a big star, sure, and I’m sure Downey Jr will get some decent sized grosses under his belt, but unless he’s cast in another big budget blockbuster (I doubt he’s the kinda guy who will be interested in that, quite frankly) then I think it’s fair to say he’s not going to be getting to $200mil again until 2010 with Iron Man 2.

  28. “He’s a big star, sure” refers to Depp btw. Bad punctuation there, sorry.

  29. leahnz says:

    ‘the mosquito coast’ (a weir clasic, imo, along with ‘witness’, tho far less tidy and conventional) is river’s movie, start to finish

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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