MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Be Sociable, Share!

40 Responses to “One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other”

  1. T. Holly says:

    If these reviews don’t start coming out soon, I’m going to bust a gut. The embargo must be lifted — are there print ads running quotes?

  2. jeffmcm says:

    I just rewatched Ang Lee’s Hulk prior to seeing Incredible Hulk. One is certainly more ambitious and interesting than the other, but it’s also a mess, and unsatisfying. The other one doesn’t aim as high but I’d give it a higher rating for fulfilling its objectives.
    So maybe it’s the same thing here. Or maybe DP really is right – wait, why am I even questioning this?

  3. jeffmcm says:

    That came out wrong, it wasn’t (totally) meant as a slam.
    Also, I just realized Hancock marks the reunion of Michael Bluth and Rita.

  4. Bodhizefa says:

    I don’t understand the fascination with Hancock from this site, and I think it will be lucky to pull in $150 million. Its trailers and ads have been met with groans in every single screening I’ve been to, and I have yet to talk to a single person who has been even mildly interested in seeing the flick.
    All of this is a long-winded way of saying that you, David, seem to think that your opinion is more right than someone else’s opinion. And I think it’s a silly assertion. You occasionally pick the strangest movies to strongly advocate, especially in terms of potential box office success, and then are surprised when not only the mass public but also the critics deviate from your opinion so greatly. And it baffles me, Poland. I know you’ve got to write about something on your blog, but attempting to sandbag the critics and the public for enjoying what most thought was a very enjoyable movie (Iron Man) and then also harping on how the world just doesn’t understand an alleged good movie like Hancock is a fairly weak stance. Your opinion is no more correct than McCarthy’s (and your’s is likely in the minority, I’ll wager).

  5. mysteryperfecta says:

    Sounds like he prefers a movie that plays it safe and succeeds to a movie that sets a higher bar but doesn’t clear it. Doesn’t sound that unreasonable.
    Its like a gymnastic vault: Gymnast A can attempt an easier vault with a maximum score of 9.8, and perform it perfectly, while Gymnast B faulters attempting a vault with a potential 10 score, only scoring a 9.6. Sorry, Hancock, but Iron Man stuck the landing.

  6. IOIOIOI says:

    It’s more complex to you David. It’s more complex to you. You once again are left outside looking in on a movie that everyone loves. A movie you dislike so much, that you have now decided to pitt Hancock against it.
    Why do you do this all the time? Why do go all celebrity death match when you are on the outside looking in on a flick? Come on man. This is getting sillier and sillier by the day.

  7. mysteryperfecta says:

    Your Hulk example is good, jeffmcm.

  8. David Poland says:

    IO… I don’t hate Iron Man… don’t LOVE Hancock… as usual, the point is missed by some. Everything must be a long winded way of saying something else.
    Could it be that I am actually saying EXACTLY what I am saying? Does it matter that I have been on the more successful box office side of this argument before? Can people see past their person preferences… ever?
    I guess it’s an interesting day when J-Mc and Mystery are the only ones who get it in here so far. Sigh…

  9. mutinyco says:

    Zak Penn subtext thread…

  10. Rothchild says:

    Whether you like the movie or not, or whether you like the trailers or not, there’s no way you could think this is going to make less than 200 and have any idea what audiences want. Will Smith could star in a remake of Howard the Duck and it would make 100. This movie has enough action and laughs to last.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    If DP is saying that I ‘get it’ then I’m even more confused because I thought I was arguing against his point.
    Also, I think I’ve said this before, but I don’t think what appears in Variety can really be called ‘critical’ reviews since their first and foremost point is to predict how the movie will be received by audiences and to forecast the financial outlook. Therefore, not a big surprise that Mr. McCarthy’s writings would tend to be on the safe side of things.

  12. T. Holly says:

    So what the heck happened embargo wise? This morning, Bart said, “I

  13. T. Holly says:

    Mcm, you’re just wrong about Variety. So what they broadly say if they think something will be a financial hit. Me thinks DP is a very daring, brave, adventurous type underneath his buttoned down demenor, and that’s why he’s buzzed by Hancock and bored, like Ann Hornaday, by IM.

  14. sharonfranz says:

    Yeah, that’s how it is. The problem with trying something new is, when it doesn’t work, it just seems really pretentious.
    And there’s something to be said about being able to follow a formula, but still making it seem fresh and entertaining, which is what “Iron Man” did.
    Just like you can easily follow a formula, and end up with complete crap, you can also be experimental and end up with complete crap.

  15. David Poland says:

    I’m pretty sure that what I wrote did NOT trigger Variety going early… though today really isn’t early for them. I assume there were big ads in NYT Sunday and that is another trigger, I believe… they roll the Monday after the display ads. Bart’s comment was odd, but he may just have not thought out the timing. Bloggers!!!

  16. christian says:

    THE LAST ACTION HERO was a fantastic idea marred by what you saw onscreen. I’d rather somebody twist material than repeat it.

  17. David Poland says:

    True, Sharon.
    I would just like critics to really consider that as they write. I’m not saying anyone should praise what they don’t like. But we are constantly saying that Hollywood should risk… and then, when they do, if someone doesn’t like it, they attack like it’s Hitler.
    I happen to like Hancock. But it’s not about that. When critics go negative, people get defensive. In the end, the audience will decide. So be it. There is no fighting it. And with rare exceptions, there is no Right or Wrong.
    But when time comes to deconstruct Hancock, the effort is quite interesting and abitious. And that deserves praise, not derision, even if it doesn’t work for you… that’s what we keep asking them to do!

  18. mutinyco says:

    a) “buzzed by Hancock”
    b) The Buzzcocks
    c) In Control, not liking The Buzzcocks because they had “cock” in their name

  19. NickF says:

    Iron Man isn’t fresh in any way. The charisma that Downey brought to the Stark character makes that movie was it is.

  20. Josh Massey says:

    Everybody’s asshole is exactly the same?

  21. martin says:

    Josh, I was wondering the same thing. Not an expert on assholes though.

  22. Martin S says:

    Dave, I get what you’re going for; set a criteria and stick with it. Don’t critique based on intention.
    Fine, but even though you never really reviewed Inc. Hulk, Hancock has the exact same problems – muddled script, story logic incontinuity, forced third act big fight. Isn’t this issue with McCarthy simply about taste?

  23. Drew says:

    Here’s a question for you, Dave, since HANCOCK obviously resonated with you on some level, and I think you can answer this without any specific spoilers:
    What do you think the movie is about?
    I’m a big believer in writing to theme, and I’m curious what you feel HANCOCK has to say about anything… power, the superhero genre, marriage, our need for gods… anything.

  24. mutinyco says:

    It’s about how they had to remove the D from his name to avoid an R-rating…

  25. IOIOIOI says:

    David; I have read your commentary for too long to think that there’s no subtext. There’s always subtext with you. Do you need me to go through the decade alone and provide you with lengths to all of your subtext? This is how you work. It does not make you a lesser commentator or film critic, but please do not sell me the above greek salad. When it really does not become you, sir. It does not become you.

  26. IOIOIOI says:

    Links not lengths, but you go to lengths sir. You go to great lengths with your subtext. Nevertheless; Hancock would have to be about being an outsider. Would it not?

  27. Crash115 says:

    Dave, you may not “hate Iron Man” but you have been a bit obsessive about deflating it since it’s arrival nearly two months ago. As that rare movie that is not only financially successful but also nearly universally loved by both critics and audiences, you seem to take great pleasure in chipping away at it and demeaning anyone who champions it. Sometimes it’s cool to be a rebel and stand up for what you believe in…but other times you can come off as the griping old man in the corner who doesn’t understand why everyone doesn’t agree with him!
    Haven’t seen Hancock, so I can’t comment. I am a Berg and Smith fan, so I hope it’s good. Either way, I won’t try to compare it to Iron Man because they are different films with different styles. It needs to stand on it’s own merits.
    I have seen Incredible Hulk and although it was far from perfect, I found it to be a crowd pleaser (what more should you ask of a film called “the Incredible Hulk?”). I have been surprised by the criticism that it lacked “humor” because I thought it balanced the (necessary) darker aspects of the story with occasional lighter moments very well. My major complaint (which I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else) lies with the illogical way the battle with the Abomination ended. Leaving it defeated but still alive does not work for a creature that has shown rapid regenerative capabilities. Although stopping Hulk from killing it may have worked for future sequels, it made no sense because in my mind it would be up and wreaking havoc again in a few hours.

  28. christian says:

    The Hulk should have popped its head off with that chain at the end. But the film did have humor, low key, minus Tim Nelson’s over the top role.

  29. chris says:

    What’s with the tar-brushing of “critics” as if all of them are in lockstep with McCarthy? This is a “critic.”

  30. jeffmcm says:

    It would be rude of DP to say nasty things about Todd McCarthy specifically so making it about ‘critics’ (one of his several sworn enemies) diffuses the issue.

  31. IOIOIOI says:

    Crash: the HULK cannot kill people. Especially people who were turned into an ABOMINATION by a twisted General using a serum he should have never used. Blonsky is some what of a victim in this movie. So Betty did the right thing by screaming at Banner to not rip off his head with a chain. It will also work for a sequel :D!

  32. Paulseta says:

    Oh dear, oh dear.
    Once again, it’s very simple – Hancock will do a minimum of $250 million, most likely 3. Know why? Same buzz from ordinary, actual human beings, who care not about our chattering wish-we-knew bollocks.
    Iron Man worked because of every reason that everyone said, and no reason that anyone said. It worked because it got it right. It just happens. As the man says, nobody knows anything.
    My wife loved it because Robert Downey Jnr rules; because it was funny (important point, this); because it was very well put together; and because – and this is critical – when you walked out of the theatre you felt good. It was great.
    And we told everyone else it was great.
    Hancock has the same feel to it (and incidentally, I was the guy who predicted 30+ for The Happening’s opening weekend, despite the critics… and it’s a bloody awful movie, but seriously, do most critics live in a vacuum?) and, frankly, Will Smith is money in the bank.
    Interesting point, as of course Robert Downey Jnr was not money in the bank at all… BUT… when people (ordinary people) saw the clips of him as Iron Man… saw the idea… thought to themselves that that looked *cool*. Well… the reality is that if an actor is good, and people want to see that actor in a certain kind of role, and think that’s what they’re getting…
    In any case, Hancock will connect with the average ticket buyer, and whether reviewers think it is good or bad is totally irrelevant. In fact, as time goes on, the “power” of the critic is dimishing (and frankly I won’t be sorry to see the back-end of people like Rex Reed!) and the power of word of mouth is increasing – and a primary reason for that is the fact that mass communication has become so easy and widespread.
    Mark my words – Hancock will do 250 million at least before it’s played out. If I’m wrong, I’ll put my money where my mouth is and quit posting for good (after making a humble apology too). It is the rarest of the rare – a can’t miss box office hit.
    That’s one of the reasons Mr Smith is paid so much money for doing what seems like so little.

  33. romeoisbleeding says:

    I just have to say the above post by Paulseta is totally right on in my book. And yes critics are not relevant any longer. If people like a movie they will tell everyone around the water cooler the next day or on their blogs and the word spreads. I have not heard one person say they did not love Iron Man. The word of mouth for this movie was tremendous. And you know what… I talked to people who wanted to hate it and they even loved it. It is a damn fun likeable movie and Downey is likeable in it. Nuff said. And Hancock will be huge because it is Will Smith and his fans don’t care what any critic says. They will go and see it in droves.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    Sounds great, except for all the many times that ‘word of mouth’ rewards crummy movies and disdains good ones.

  35. Martin S says:

    Critic irrelevancy is BS. I know a number of people who’s final call as to whether to see Speed Racer was by critic review – and they passed.
    It has an effect on variables – unknown talent, quasi-familiar titles – but a guy like Will Smith trumps that. Believe me – seriously, believe me on this one – a concept like Hancock is terrifying to financiers and the only way to alleviate that is with a mega-star. Right now, WB is concerned over some aspects of Watchmen that don’t fit the template, and they have zero stars to boot.
    I think most reviews will end up like Poland’s, caveats abound for an attempt at something perceived as different. In truth, the Hancock spin is a gimmick and is getting a pass because of other elements, one being its juxtaposition to IM and Inc. Hulk.
    And 250 will be an achievement with TDK on its ass. The Ledger factor is going to devour the news cycle, and if he’s half as good as being said, it’s going to command everything for a ten day period.

  36. mysteryperfecta says:

    “The Ledger factor is going to devour the news cycle, and if he’s half as good as being said, it’s going to command everything for a ten day period.”
    I think the “Ledger Factor” might get overestimated. If The Dark Knight had opened within the month that Ledger passed, it likely would have really boosted the movie’s box office. But that window has passed. His unfortunate passing has been off the radar for a while. TDK may get a small bump from the large number of Ledger-centric movie reviews, but ultimately, it will succeed based on the fact that people liked Batman Begins, and like what they’ve seen from TDK’s marketing campaign, imo.

  37. Martin S says:

    Mystery, while I agree, this is what I was waiting for.
    Multiply this by every major critic, and WOM becomes “he was better than Jack”. It’s going to be The Crow, exponential. Morbid curiosity becoming massive appreciation. At this point, Wall-E’s the only competition.
    And the superficiality that Dave’s complained about, regarding IM, will be on full display after TDK. The comparisons are going to make Marvel look quite lite in the story/character department.

  38. leahnz says:

    wow, that’s quite a rave, almost too much really. now i’m wary, whereas before i was merely ambivalent…
    either it’s fucking awesome or travers was on ‘shrooms or something

  39. Merry Xmas. Let all your desires may possibly come true for yourself along with your household as well as lets expect the next year or so be profitable for many us. Merry Christmas

  40. Ira Parks says:

    Hey look, I read this thread. I was there. DON’T TELL ME, ya know?

The Hot Blog

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