MCN Columnists
Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest

Fall Movie Preview Part II

After the enormous box office success of “Fall Preview – Part I,” it seemed that a Part II was inevitable. So, let’s just pick up right where we left off, shall we?

November 7

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Dir. Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath) – Inexplicably, we have a sequel to one of the most boring and contrived animated films of the last five years and even more surprising is that it’s not going straight to video. The first Madagascar came out three years ago and I can’t imagine that the same children who enjoyed that first one are really going to be turning up for the second one; it’s not like there is some extraordinary fan-base like the one for Shrek that is clamoring for this sequel – at least none that I’m aware of. And really, didn’t we say all that we needed to say about zoo creatures in foreign lands with the first Madagascar?

Ben Stiller is back as the voice of Alex, the cowardly lion and Chris Rock returns as Marty the zebra along with David Schwimmer as Melman the giraffe and Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria the hippo. I’m assuming this time around they get into some hijinks on mainland Africa where I will probably root for the hunters for the first time in my life.

Fun Fact: Bernie Mac, who tragically passed away too young, lent his voice to this production.

Role Models (Dir. David Wain) – If you’re not familiar with David Wain, then I suggest you rent Stella and watch every episode you can find of Wainy Days on youtube. He was one of the guys who brought us the MTV sketch comedy show The State as well as being the man behind the camera for the brilliant Wet Hot American Summer and the hit-and-miss The Ten. The man’s comedic chops are beyond reproach in my eyes, I’m just sad that he won’t be in front of the camera for this outing.

Role Models stars the ever-hilarious Paul Rudd along with Sean William Scott as energy drink salesmen who enroll themselves in a big brother program. My only reservations are that, on first blush, it reminds me of films like School for Scoundrels or Mr. Woodcock due to either the subject matter or the presence of Sean William Scott. But I would never doubt Wain or Rudd and their irreverent sense of humor, so I’ll be there.

Fun Fact: Fellow The State and Wet Hot American Summer alum, Ken Marino helped write the script.

Other Releases: Robert Redford’s daughter Amy makes her directorial debut with theSaffron Burrows vehicle The Guitar, which is about a woman with two months to live deciding to pursue her dreams; Paris Hilton stars in a musical called Repo! The Genetic Opera brought to us by the guy who gave us the awful Saw sequels, it’s as if they designed a film to sweep the Razzies; Danny Boyle follows up the underrated Sunshine with a return to his Millions side with Slumdog Millionaire, a film about an illiterate kid who goes on a Hindi game show; Mark Herman, who brought us Brassed Off and Little Voice, directs a tale about a Nazi boy and a Jewish boy becoming friends in a concentration camp in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

November 14

Un Conte de Noel (A Christmas Tale) (Dir. Arnaud Desplechin) – This is, without a doubt, one of my two or three most anticipated films of the fall. And if you saw Desplechin’s last film,Kings and Queen, then this is probably one of your most anticipated films as well. For those averse to films with subtitles, put those worries aside and rent Desplechin’s last film and you will be impressed. Kings and Queen is simply one of the most daring and devastating pictures to come out in recent years and after the fascinating but plodding My Sex Life and Esther Kahn, it seemed that the talented Desplechin might be forever mired in overly talky but ultimately languid relationship films. But Kings and Queen is full of vitality, mostly due to Mathieu Amalric’s joyfully deranged lead performance and Emmanuelle Devos’ calculating and manipulative one. It is a film that has many tangents, but all of them have a devastating power the traces its roots back to the core. Rent it, please.

So with Un Conte de Noel – a very Rohmer title – Desplechin finally delivers his follow-up and he smartly brings his repertory company of Amalric, Devos and the still stunning Catherine Deneuve with him to this tale of family. Deneueve plays the matriarch of the clan who is diagnosed with cancer and I’m sure various complications ensue. And when it comes to Desplechin, you never stutter when you use the word “complication” because the relationships between the characters in his films are not easily definable. The characters are human and they don’t just have love or hate for their families or friends, they have mixed emotions like we all do.

The film earned many plaudits at Cannes and I’m excited to spend two and a half hours watching Desplechin’s latest drama unfurl.

Fun Fact: Co-star Melvil Poupaud starred in the similarly titled Eric Rohmer film A Summer’s Tale 12 years ago.

Quantum of Solace (Dir. Marc Forster) – This film might earn slightly more at the box office than the previous one, since this is the latest James Bond picture. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of the Bond franchise post-Connery, but I thought Casino Royale was by far the best one yet. It was exciting, sexy and more than a little derivative of the Bourne franchise without being as good as those Matt Damon flicks. But, I definitely liked the direction they started going in with the last flick, since I was never a fan of the cheese factor inherent in a lot of the Bond films – especially the Roger Moore ones. I think Daniel Craig is not only charismatic, but a truly interesting actor as evidenced by his performances in Munich, Sylvia andInfamous.

Marc Forster is an interesting director for this. I think Forster is terrific in general, with a keen sense of tone and pace, adjusting those things as he moves to different projects. His great adaptation of The Kite Runner last year was, unfortunately, overlooked at awards time and at the box office, but it shows that he has a good sense of scope. Between Monsters Ball, Stranger than Fiction, Stay, and Finding Neverland, he’s definitely a director that likes to jump from genre to genre and this will be his first stab at action.

This time around, the action picks up soon after Casino Royale ended and Bond goes after the organization that helped his beloved Vesper Lynd betray him. The Bond girl this time around is Olga Kurylenko who was probably the only worthwhile thing in last year’s Hitman.

Fun Fact: Mathieu Amalric is playing the villain, giving him two films opening on the same day.

Other Releases: Southern drama Lake City opens up, starring the ever-talented Sissy Spacek along with Drea de Matteo, Rebecca Romijn and Dave Matthews in a film about an estranged mother and son reuniting under dire circumstances; Nothing Like the Holidays, another holiday dramedy, this time starring the unlikely coupling of John Leguizamo and Debra Messing doing the Christmas thing with the former’s Puerto Rican family consisting of talented actors like Freddy Rodriguez, Melone Diaz, Jay Hernandez, Alfred Molina and Luis Guzman; Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac star inSoul Men, which is not a sequel to the C. Thomas Howell vehicle of the 80’s, but a film about two soul singers who reunite for a concert at the Apollo.

November 21

Twilight (Dir. Catherine Hardwicke) – This is just one of those sensations that I don’t know a whole lot about, other than what I’ve read about in newspapers. Apparently the “Twilight” series of books is sort of like the Underworld series of movies, but for kids. It’s about vampires and werewolves and a virginal teenage girl stuck in a love triangle between one of each kind. The book series byStephanie Meyer has a rabid following amongst adolescents and offbeat adults. I didn’t read the Harry Potter books either, but I sure do enjoy the film adaptations of those, so perhaps I’ll feel the same about this.

The talented Kristen Stewart stars as Bella who moves to a new town in Washington with her folks and of course winds up falling for the local vampire (played by Robert Pattinson). I suppose there will be a lot of film time spent on which vampire tricks are “true” and which ones “only happen in the movies.” I love that every vampire film has that smug vampire who poo-poos stuff like crucifixes, “pshaw, maybe that works in the movies.” Well, we’re watching a freaking movie, so shouldn’t it work?

But I digress…Hardwicke made a great breakthrough film with Thirteen and then stumbled with Lords of Dogtown and The Nativity Story. Hopefully, this will be a return to form, but it doesn’t really matter; the film will make lots of money and we’ll see plenty of sequels.

Fun Fact: Pattinson played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter films.

The Soloist (Dir. Joe Wright) – After the twin successes of Atonement and Pride and Prejudice, Wright moves into the present with a film set in Los Angeles’ Skid Row. This is a film based on the true story of reporter Steve Lopez (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) who discovered a schizophrenic former Juilliard student named Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) and helps him to perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Robert Downey, Jr. is on a roll right now with Iron Man and Tropic Thunder and it’s great to see such a talented actor doing work in films that are actually being seen. Oscar-winnerJamie Foxx gets to dig his teeth in a role with some serious meat on it, but I hope Downey gave him some advice on restraint with this particular performance.

This could be another A Beautiful Mind: troubled genius overcomes schizophrenia. Or it could be saccharine and preachy. Considering Joe Wright is behind the camera and Robert Downey, Jr. is in front of it, I’ve got considerable hope that this will not be just another melodrama.

Fun Fact: The first film written by Susannah Grant to feature male leads, after she gave usCharlotte’s Web, Catch and Release, Erin Brockovich, 28 Days, Ever After and In Her Shoes.

Other Releases: The non-Pixar but still Disney CGI animated Bolt hits theaters, starring the voices of John Travolta and Susie Essman in a film about a celebrity dog winds up on the mean streets of New York City.

November 26

Australia (Dir. Baz Luhrmann) – The long awaited follow-up to Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge is finally here with an epic tale about his homeland, starring Australian superstars Nicole Kidman andHugh Jackman. I find Luhrmann to be an incredible visual filmmaker who has often been a little light on characterization while being long on innovation. His Romeo and Juliet is a revelation and proves that with searing material, he can really knock it out of the park and Moulin Rouge proved that his visual acuity can make up for a lot of deficiencies.

This long-gestating film is set in World War II Australia where an English woman (Kidman) drives a herd of 2,000 cattle through the outback with the help of a cowboy (Hugh Jackman) while Japanese forces bombard the city of Darwin.

It’s a little Red River, a little Gone with the Wind and if it’s successful, there will be inevitable comparisons to Titanic: epic love story set against the backdrop of a tragedy. Kidman did some of her best work in Moulin Rouge and Jackman always does grizzled well. Here’s hoping Luhrmann comes back with a vengeance.

Fun Fact: Russell Crowe dropped out of the film after salary disputes because he doesn’t “do charity work for studios.” I was going to say something snarky about that quote, but looking back on his filmography, Crowe has actually done a pretty good job of picking projects.

Milk (Dir. Gus Van Sant) – I’m of two minds here. On the one hand, I absolutely adored Gus Van Sant and would follow him anywhere, especially since Paranoid Park is still my favorite film of the year so far. On the other hand, Robert Epstein’s documentary The Times of Harvey Milk is a perfect motion picture that encapsulates everything you’d need to know about the title character. I worry that this film might suffer from the same issues that plaguedCatherine Hardwicke’s Lords of Dogtown: great documentary that suffers when trying to make it play as a feature because there is too much information to get through.

Regardless, I trust Van Sant and a cast of Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, and Diego Luna. I trust them all enough that my doubts have been most assuaged by their presence. By all accounts, this is a more “normal” Van Sant picture, more akin to Good Will Hunting in style than Elephant. I suppose that fits the material – and the budget – better, but I’m somewhat disappointed that we won’t get long tracking shots of the back ofSean Penn’s head as he walks through the streets of San Francisco.

For those who don’t know, Harvey Milk (Penn) was the first openly gay elected official and he was tragically assassinated by a homophobic co-worker named Dan White (played by Brolin).

If it’s Van Sant in Good Will Hunting mode, then we might see some nominations for this film.

Fun Fact: This film beat Bryan Singer’s The Mayor of Castro Street into production.

The Road (Dir. John Hillcoat) – This is one of those times that I’m actually pleased I didn’t read the source material. Cormac McCarthy is a gifted writer, to be sure, but I enjoyed Hillcoat’s The Proposition so much that I’m looking forward to checking out this adaptation of McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winner with fresh eyes. Hillcoat apparently loved the novel so dearly that he’s hewing close the source material.

The book and the film are about a man and his son who walk for months across a post-apocalyptic road, trying to find other signs of life.

This is very disturbing and searing stuff and it sounds like it will be just up my alley, especially when you add in that Viggo Mortensen is playing the father. It sounds like it’ll be I Am Legend without the vampires and with a bit more intelligence. Based on some of the press pictures, I’m guessing they do find other survivors and I’m guessing those survivors aren’t too friendly. There’s a good chance that this might be the most frightening film we’ll see all year.

Fun Fact: Guy Pearce, star of Hillcoat’s The Proposition, will play “The Veteran” in this film.

Other Releases: Jason Statham decides to, uh, transport some more stuff in The Transporter 3; Reese Witherspoon brings the girls and Vince Vaughn brings the guys in the surefire hit Four Christmases in which Vaughn and Witherspoon play a couple that has to deal with each divorced parent separately at four different Christmas dinners.

December 5

Frost/Nixon (Dir. Ron Howard) – Never saw the stage play, but it concerns a very interesting interview that I’ve read all about: in 1977 BBC host David Frost did a series of interviews with formerPresident Richard Nixon about his role in Watergate and Nixon opened up about it for the first time, even admitting a little bit of guilt. Now, this is fascinating stuff to read about and maybe even seeing it play out in front of you in live theater, but is this something that will be entertaining for two hours in a movie theater?

The play and the script are by Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Other Boleyn Girl) who has deftly handled real-life drama at the highest levels of government with a knack for making it more than just a history lesson. Starring in the film are Frank Langella as Nixon and Michael Sheen as Frost, both of them holdovers from the stage production and both of them are extremely talented actors.

Ron Howard is kind of the perfect director for this because I’m sure he will figure out a way to open things up a little bit. Howard sometimes gets lambasted by being too much of a populist filmmaker, but he’s directed some gritty films before like The Missing and I think he’ll leave hisDa Vinci Code hat at home on this one.

Fun Fact: Rebecca Hall, fresh off her terrific performance in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, will be co-starring along with Kevin Bacon and Sam Rockwell.

Other Releases: Lexi Alexander, who tackled the underrated Green Street Hooligans, now gives us the sequel that nobody asked for with Punisher: War Zone with Ray Stevensonstarring as the titular, Steven Seagal-esque hero.

December 12

Defiance (Dir. Edward Zwick) – I have a special place in my heart for films about Jews kicking ass, especially when they are kicking Nazi ass and so this might be a nice primer for Tarantino’s wacko take on similar subject matter next year. Defiance is the story of the Bielski brothers who fled to a forest in Belarus during the Nazi occupation and organized a partisan group of anti-Nazi guerillas.

Daniel Craig, fresh off the latest Bond flick plays Tuvia Bielski while Jamie Bell, George MacKay and Liev Schreiber play his brothers Asael, Aron and Zus. It’s a great collection of actors for a fascinating story.

The problem is Zwick directing this picture. He seems to enjoy making historical war films likeGlory and The Last Samurai, both of which were very well done. But the last time he made a film was Blood Diamond, which takes an important piece of history and uses it as a backdrop for a film that is unbelievably silly. He’s a hit or miss guy, who can do wonderful things like Courage Under Fire or mediocre pictures like The Siege. I’m hoping after the misstep of Blood Diamond that he knocks this one out of the park because it’s a great story.

Fun Fact: After Munich, this is the second “Jews kicking ass” movie to star Daniel Craig.

Doubt (Dir. John Patrick Shanley) – This is the second time playwright and screenwriter Shanley has stepped behind the camera after Joe Versus the Volcano. That movie was a flop at the box office, but I adore it because it is so offbeat and strange and hilarious. Shanley is a talented writer who has brought us beauties like Moonstruck and disappointments like Congo (which is one of the most unintentionally hilarious films ever made). But I generally like Shanley’s vibe.

I never saw the stage play for Doubt, but it’s supposed to be very serious stuff and it will be interesting to see Shanley handle an Agnes of God kind of film. The play is about a principal at a Catholic school in 1964 who suspects that a priest might have done something inappropriate with a black student. Meryl Streep plays the principal andPhilip Seymour Hoffman plays the priest, with Amy Adams along for the ride as one of the nuns. Viola Davis plays the student’s mother and she is garnering much Awards buzz for her role.

There seems to be a lot of weighty issues to be discussed here, mainly race and religion and there are probably no two greater hot button issues in this country. I’m intrigued and excited to see how these topics are discussed.

Fun Fact: John Patrick Shanley has won an Oscar and been nominated for a Razzie.

Other Releases: Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly star in the needless remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still directed by the man who gave us The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Klaatu Barada Nikto, my friends; just watch the original.

December 19

Seven Pounds (Dir. Gabriele Muccino) – Muccino is such a talent. Before directing The Pursuit of Happyness, he did two films in his native Italy that are masterpieces: Remember Me, My Love and the remade The Last Kiss. Both of those films are unbelievably good andRemember Me, My Love is one of my favorite films of the last ten years, an Italian Magnolia; a film that I love to revisit again and again. So, now Muccino has his second American film and his second film in a row with Will Smith as his star.

I thought The Pursuit of Happyness was a nice film, a good film, but not really approaching the level of Muccino’s Italian efforts. With Seven Pounds, it sounds like we’re getting something that’s a bit more weighty thematically. It’s the story of a man (Smith) who is suicidal after being responsible for an auto accident that killed seven people and tries to put his life back together when he meets the beautiful Rosario Dawson. Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy, and Barry Pepper co-star.

The great thing about Muccino’s Italian films is that they straddle the line of comedy and drama, even when there are dire circumstances afoot. He understands that life is not all black and white, great and terrible, that sometimes we laugh when we should cry and cry when we should laugh. I’m hoping that with something like Seven Pounds, we’ll get something more akin to Muccino’s earlier work.

I have no doubt, by the way, that Smith and Dawson will deliver killer performances like they always do. The two of them are such professionals, delivering just the right notes in each role they get.

Fun Fact: Smith and Dawson’s second paring, after first teaming up in Men in Black II.

Yes Man (Dir. Peyton Reed) – Oh boy, Jim Carrey, you finally did it, you finally got me to step off the Carrey fan bus. I grew up laughing at the man on In Living Color and in Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber, through Liar, Liar and admiring the work he did in dramatic films like The Truman Show, Man on the Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Somewhere along the line, though, he started to become a caricature of himself (and he was already kind of a caricature to begin with) with turns in Fun with Dick and Jane and was horribly miscast in The Number 23. I was still with him, though, because I think he’s a wonderful talent. Then he did this…

A little background: Yes Man by Danny Wallace was a book I read on vacation about three years ago, before I had any inkling that it might be a movie. I fell in love with that book because the author Danny Wallace actually did say yes to everything for six months and it describes how that worked. Wallace is British and it’s a very British kind of book, dry sense of humor and the locations are all throughout England and Europe. Wallace is also a young guy, with friends in their 20’s who would drag him out to bars in the middle of the night because they knew he couldn’t say no, adding to much of the comedy.

Now, Carrey is not in his 20’s and is not British. Still, when I heard he and Zooey Deschanelwere starring, I was curious to see what direction they would take it. Unfortunately, they took it in the worst possible direction, based on the trailer: they basically remade Liar, Liar with Carrey going way over the top, making those guttural yells and screams as he bungee jumps! It’s clear based on the trailer that they had no interest in the book beyond the initial conceit and that saddens me because there is a great movie to be made from that book. This film could still be entertaining in its own way, but it’s a shame that they diverted so much from the source material.

Fun Fact: Okay, I still love Jim Carrey: he’s going to star as a man who falls in love withEwan McGregor in prison in the film I Love You, Philip Morris due out next year. But I’m very mad at him right now.

Other Releases: Rod Lurie does his usual brand of politics again with the Valerie Plameesque Nothing But the Truth starring Kate Beckinsale, Vera Farmiga, Matt Dillon, David Schwimmer, Alan Alda and Angela Bassett; Matthew Broderick andEmma Watson lend their voices to the animated The Tale of Despereaux about a rat, a mouse and the various non-cooking hijinks that ensue.

Christmas (Dec. 25th and Dec. 26th)

Valkyrie (Dir. Bryan Singer) – I don’t care what anyone says, I loveTom Cruise. I think his movie-star status has long taken away from the fact that he’s just a damn good actor. Don’t believe me? Check him out in Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire, Collateral, Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut, Rain Man, Risky Business, etc. etc. The man has never given a bad performance (except maybe in Losin’ It), and there’s a reason why directors likeCameron Crowe, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann, Oliver Stone, Neil Jordan, Paul Thomas Anderson, Brian De Palma, Sydney Pollack, Barry Levinson and Martin Scorsese have wanted to work with him: the guy’s got talent. So, put aside the fact that in real life he might be a little nuts – who in Hollywood isn’t? – and focus on the work he does.

So, having said that, I’m excited to see him work with Bryan Singer in a film that deals with the real-life attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler by his own soldiers. Cruise is playing the ringleader and Bill Nighy and Thomas Kretschmann are helping him out. Black Book’sCarice Van Houten co-stars.

Bryan Singer is looking to regain some credibility after the flop of Superman Returns and Cruise is looking for a return to glory after a rough few years. I’m betting they both gave it their all; whether or not it worked, we’ll find out in a few months (unless the release date is changed yet again).

Fun Fact: Kenneth Branagh co-stars with Cruise two years after dropping out of Mission Impossible III.

Revolutionary Road (Dir. Sam Mendes) – Titanic lovers Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reteam eleven years later in a film that has to be the early favorite to win Best Picture (sight unseen). In those eleven years, our opinions of those two leads has changed considerably; they are no longer just the “new kids on the block” but established actors who are among the best at their craft currently working today. Winslet, in particular, is my favorite actress, who has given a number of breathtaking performances that have gotten her nominated but as yet unOscared. Winslet is also teaming up with her husband, Sam Mendes, an Oscar winner for American Beauty. The pedigree on this one is pretty impressive by any standard.

The film is based on a novel by Richard Yates, about a young couple in 1950’s Connecticut who endure ups and downs as they try to shake up their boring lives. It sounds like it’s up Mendes’ alley and I have no doubt that DiCaprio and Winslet will deliver.

The concern many people have is that it’s about a depressing subject: suburban malaise. Winslet’s character is mourning the loss of her dream to be an actress and DiCaprio’s character has a job that pays him well but doesn’t fulfill him. Ultimately, they decide to move to France because they believe that they are superior to everyone in Connecticut.

It sounds great to me, if done correctly and with talent like this, I’m betting it will be.

Fun Fact: Fellow Titanic co-star Kathy Bates joins the crew.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Dir. David Fincher) – Okay, here it is, after nearly ten thousand words, two columns and a mild wrist cramp, I’ve gotten to the film that I’m most excited to see this fall…this year actually. Not only do we have the great David Fincher,fresh off the triumph that was Zodiac, but we also got Eric Roth providing the screenplay fresh off the genius The Good Shepherd (I might be in the minority there, but it’s a terrific script).Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett are starring in this adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story about a man who ages backwards and falls in love, getting younger while his love gets older.

I wasn’t quite sure how they were going to tackle the process of a person aging backwards until I saw the amazing effects that showed a little baby with the face and body of an eighty year old Brad Pitt. The trailer looks almost Tim Burtonish with its dark, foreboding fantasy but it also looks to have more heart and emotion than Tim Burton has ever had.

This is a departure for Fincher, to be sure. We’re used to seeing him make films that are gritty and realistic, but it seems he hasn’t lost his knack for creating jaw-dropping images. This is a softer film for Fincher, one that is built around a love story and I can’t wait to sit through all three hours of spectacle that he has in store for us. Waiting for films like this are what make this job so damned great.

Fun Fact: My most anticipated film in last year’s Fall Preview was P.T. Anderson’ There Will Be Blood. Make of that what you will.

Other Releases: Clint Eastwood comes back for seconds this fall with Gran Torino, in which Eastwood plays a Korean War veteran and his relationship with his Korean neighbor; Frank Miller does his Sin City thing with Will Eisner’s The Spirit starring Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes and Samuel L. Jackson in a story that sounds a bit like The Crow; Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston play with a dog in Marley and Me which will probably make me and every other dog-lover cry by manipulating us mercilessly; Adam Sandler goes back to Click territory with Bedtime Stories in which he asks his children to listen to some audiotapes and figure out whether the people on those tapes are having sex or weightlifting. Just kidding: it’s about a man who, tells bedtime stories to his kids that start to “magically” come true; Forest Whitaker plays a basketball coach in post-Katrina Louisiana in Hurricane Season, from the man who brought us the moving Fantastic Four

– Noah Forrest
September 7, 2008

Noah Forrest is a 25 year old aspiring writer/filmmaker in New York City.

The opinions expressed in these columns are the writer’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Movie City News or any of its editors or other contributors.

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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