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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – Tuesday

No time to write about the schizo LAFCA nods (NYFCC tomorrow)… but plenty of space for you all to fight about it…
NOTE: If you are making as many as 20% of all comments over a given 6 hours… you are commenting to much.

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53 Responses to “BYOB – Tuesday”

  1. brack says:

    Or, others aren’t commenting enough.

  2. The Pope says:

    “NOTE: If you are making as many as 20% of all comments over a given 6 hours… you are commenting too much.”

  3. chris says:

    He did say “if you are making as many as 20%,” folks. That’s a pretty high bar and, according to my math after looking at a couple recent threads, it appears to apply to just one poster.

  4. leepe says:


  5. Anyone else feel that Best Picture awards/nominations for WALL-E are being made just because people over the summer when it came out said it should be a Best Picture nominee??
    I mean, come on. The movies fine and maybe a little better than fine….but it was forgotten almost as quickly as “W.” I really don’t feel it’s top 5 best of the year.

  6. a_loco says:

    Well, I haven’t been on here in a while, so I’m not sure anyone else has something to say about it, but I’ll have a go regardless.
    I saw Valkyrie last night, and to my surprise, it was quite good. Instead of playing up the moral quagmire of being a Nazi, Singer and Co. instead crafted a low-key political potboiler. The film is very suspenseful and benefits from Singer’s attention to detail. The costumes and sets are all top notch.
    Sure, Cruise is pretty weak. Not that he’s a bad actor, but the role isn’t right for him. But the performances from the rest of the people involved (Branagh, Wilkinson, Nighy, Stamp) are fantastic. I really hope the film doesn’t get derided like I expect it to, because it really doesn’t deserve to be. It has its flaws, but it’s really a very good piece of work.
    And I hate Typepad

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    a_loco: I agree with almost everything you wrote.

  8. brack says:

    Go f*ck yourself. Sorry, just watched “The Departed” again.

  9. LexG says:

    Has there been any kind of critical putting forth of the theory that maybe 2008 wasn’t a very good year for movies? When you look at what’s cleaning up in these early critical polls and what’s on the agenda for the Oscar season… man, I gotta think this year compares to last.
    So many of the big “bait” movies (and I’m admitting many of them are still unseen by me) just seem like relics from some late ’80s Oscar season– turgid, “important,” terrestrial upscale stuff with minimal style or creative indulgence; So many of these things– RR, Reader, Milk, Doubt, Seven Pounds– just seem like polished, “proper” but ultimately conservative in scope and heavy on the etched-in-granite factor.
    Compare that to last year, where, whether you liked the movies or not, you had Zodiac, No Country, There Will Be Blood, and Jesse James all operating on that crazed-artist working at full speed, epic scope, existential Malick-Kubrick-Altman-Scorsese kind of passion and otherworldly ambition. Those will still be watched and picked apart for decades; So many of this year’s picks seem like the kind of last-millennium “bait” that won’t stand a lot of rewatch. Then again, I could be wrong, as there were HB regulars last week swearing up and down they still rewatch all those bronzed, boring mid-90s nominees I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.
    Just usually there’s at least one or two big, crazy, violent, epic, flamboyant go-for-broke movies in the ring, but this year everything in contention feels… “small.” I guess Ben Button would come closest to the kind of giant, epic, impressionist/existential feel I’m talking about… but even there were talking a kind of melancholy, portrait-of-a-life “narrative” that’s very specific in scope and precise in the filmmaking.
    I just like a more visceral, alive movie than the Scotch-guarded dour, maroon-tinted dramas… But other than TDK, which has that Mann-ish scale and style, I can’t even come up with many better suggestions. “Che” would seem to fit the bill of what I’m talking about, but it’s too cold and Soder-remote to reach that exalted level of lunatic auteurism. Even most of my personal list for the year is stuff pitched at about the level of “Snow Angels” and “Redbelt,” which are fine but don’t exactly hit Plainview levels of wild inspiration.
    Thus, I’m proclaiming this the worst cinematic year since the rock-bottom 2000.

  10. Hopscotch says:

    LAFCA is a bit bizarre. I have not seen Happy-Go-Lucky so I can’t comment. Wall-e over Slumdog? Not in my book.
    As for lousy cinematic years. 2005 tops this decade.

  11. movieman says:

    2008 was the worst year for movies since 1966.
    Double period.
    Lex- While I completely agree with the point you were making about this year’s crop of awards season hopefuls lacking the thrilling, go-for-broke auteurist delirium of some of 2007’s world-beaters (“Come Back to MCN, ‘Jesse James,’ Jesse James'”), I think you’re shortchanging “RR,” “Benjamin Button” and “Milk,” all of which could stack up quite nicely alongside some of the greatest American films of the mid-70s New Hollywood era.

  12. Blackcloud says:

    “Not surprising since he’s [Alfonso Cuaron] a Harry Potter veteran, and the Twilight fan base is nearly one and the same.”
    Yes, the fanbases are identical, that’s why Potter has sold about 380 million more copies and the films have done on average $100 million more at the box office. And that’s just domestic; international it’s not even that close. I guess it’s just more proof Finke has no clue what she’s talking about.

  13. Blackcloud says:

    Oh and TypePad is officially being rubbish again. Had to sign in six times to post that last comment.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    DP, doesn’t ‘commenting too much’ pay your bills?

  15. jesse says:

    I hear you on the 2008 blahs, Lex, and agree with you about the lack of 2007’s go-for-broke epics, even if I’m not so strict that my great movies be violent and/or crazy and/or live-action. I was pretty shocked when Ebert declared it a particularly strong year — I know he’s been a bit rosier over the last years, and bless him for it (I tend to skew more positive than some other critics/buffs I know, so even if I don’t always agree with Ebert, I like his spirit, and of course his top-notch writing). But even discounting that it was going to be a rough comedown from the excellent 2007, I’ve found pretty slim pickings so far. Lex, I’m also with you on Snow Angels — best movie I’ve seen all year — and I loved The Dark Knight and Wall-E. I also very much enjoyed In Bruges, Synecdoche New York, Be Kind Rewind, Slumdog Millionaire, W., Let the Right One In, Reprise, and a bunch of the “frat pack”-related comedies. But in a 2007 or a 2002, many of these would’ve been strong second-tier, top-20 or top-30 candidates, not possible top-ten-listers.
    If it does turn out to be a decent year, it will be due to some of the heaviest back-loading in recent memory. I thought studios were inching away from the mentality that 80% of the year’s most interesting movies should come out after December 1st (and after I see the final crap, maybe that number will stay at last year’s more evenhanded levels). But here it is, December 9th, and as a quarter-time critic at best who only sees a couple of screenings per month, I haven’t seen The Wrestler, Doubt, The Brothers Bloom, Benjamin Button, or Revolutionary Road. Hell, if all of those are even ***1/2-level movies, that’s half a ten-best list, right there. But I’m assuming some of them won’t pan out for me — even if it’s in a pleasant way, the way that I admired and enjoyed and was moved by Milk, but couldn’t really call it a *great* movie.
    Australia has some of the go-for-broke quality you’re mentioning, Lex, although it doesn’t work nearly as well as Moulin Rouge.

  16. Aladdin Sane says:

    So how about the new Terminator: Salvation teaser trailer? I found T3 to be entertaining if somewhat needless. This on the other hand looks more interesting. Thoughts?
    (and typepad’s still fuct)

  17. Josh Massey says:

    Now I haven’t seen all of the year end prestige pics, but here’s one fact that marks 2008’s stature as a movie year: Rambo is still in my top five.

  18. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Seven Pounds needs to be buried under seventeen hundred pounds of puke.
    SALVATION will be a living abortion, that is the worst kind of abortion for those who don’t know. I know this because I have looked into McG’s soulless eyes. T3 was exceptionally well crafted entertainment that had some set pieces that even made James Cameron so wet, he fired ten people on the spot.
    I sincerely hope The Wrestler sneaks up from behind and pile-drives the obvious nominees like Warm MILK, Revolting Road, Curious Case of Benny Joonbutton on their skulls.
    Penn vs Rourke 2 – There can be only one.
    If SLAMDOG ZILLIONAIRE wins anything I promise hotbloggers I will eat a turd samosa live on Skype.

  19. lazarus says:

    How about, if you’ve commented 10 times about Buffy the Vampire Slayer in one discussion on this blog, you should probably take it to some other website designed specifically for you and other Whedon-dorks to relive and debate the past.

  20. lazarus says:

    Also, regarding 2007, you guys forgot to mention Youth Without Youth and I’m Not There, which may not be to everyone’s taste but are certainly both auteurist go-for-broke films along with the others, and arguably the two most ambitious of the year.
    And while I haven’t seen RR or Milk yet, nothing I’ve read about either suggests that they are as off-the-rails as the classics mentioned from last year. The only thing I’ve seen in 2008 that comes close is Synecdoche and The Fall.

  21. brack says:

    How about, you blow us…..kisses.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    I agree that this has been a pretty mediocre year.
    Rambo does indeed mark this year’s stature – just not in a good way, but in a saggy, broken-down, no-new-ideas kind of way.
    I wish that The Fall had been half the movie that Jesse James last year was.

  23. Hallick says:

    “Anyone else feel that Best Picture awards/nominations for WALL-E are being made just because people over the summer when it came out said it should be a Best Picture nominee??”
    A movie gets released.
    People say it should be a Best Picture nominee.
    Come awards season, people nominate it.
    You’re right Don, it’s a conspiracy or something.

  24. Hallick says:

    Sarcasm aside, I haven’t seen any signs of “cheerleader’s remorse” among people who praised WALL-E over the summer; so I don’t think it just being obligational is a real possibility.
    What’s left after that would be people who vote for WALL-E just because other people said it was great, which is a phenomenon I can’t begin to imagine existing; especially if you consider our little microcosm of film geeks here. We get in fights over fonts for the love of god.

  25. C’mon, is it really that simple? Or are people just bored this season or afraid some meta critic or blogger will be all “Ooooooh! You said WALL-E was a shoe-in for B.P. and now it’s #7 on your year ennnnd….ooooohhhh! Sick burn!!” I dunno, the movie was cool when I saw it then I totally forgot about it. Kinda like the new Coldplay album.
    Also-2007 was so awesome and ballsy, it makes sense that money people were waiting to see how those films (all mentioned, but like “Jesse James,” “I’m Not There,” etc.) shook out before giving so many arty filmmakers cash or room to stretch? Or maybe those filmmakers are working on new things and for lower budget/artistic directors, that shit takes more time than cookie cutter awards season fodder.
    It has been a wishy-washy year though, I agree.

  26. Aris P says:

    You know, I’ve seen The Visitor, Changeling, Defiance, Revolutionary Road, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Rachel Getting Married and Slumdog Millionaire…. There are a couple really good ones in there, and a couple of good ones. That’s it. I have Wrestler here, and waiting for Milk, Che and Button. Not sure if Frozen River and other smaller films are being sent out.
    Having seen all that, and said all that, I never believed I’d say this but… The Dark Knight (which I thought definitely had some narrative issues) is now in the top 5, IMO. And while it wouldnt stand a chance last year, THIS year, I don’t know, i’m feeling really has a legitimate shot. If LOTR part 3 can win best picture (yawn), TDK certainly does too.

  27. Blackcloud says:

    Dark Knight is superior in nearly every respect to Return of the King.

  28. sloanish says:

    This is truly a lame year in cinema. Amazingly I was able to infer this before Lex, but he makes a good point nonetheless. A second viewing of Slumdog didn’t help. Gran Torino was merely an oddity. Ben Button looks like it cost a fortune but like all Eric Roth scripts, there is a wall between you and the film. I didn’t even like Let the Right One In.
    Looking back, the first viewing of Dark Knight was the best experience I had in a theater. Though the story is quite flawed and confusing when you go back and much of the momentum is based on twists (and the Two-Face climax BA-lows)… but it’s still quite a picture. I laughed about its Oscar chances in August, but December has told me it surely will be nominated. And if Crash can win, surely Batman can, too.
    The Wrestler, Rev Road and Defiance screeners are sitting on my coffee table. The last hopes. I fear that if the Wrestler does not triumph, all will be lost in 2008.

  29. LexG says:

    TDK should clean the fucking house alone for that opening MINUTE where the music comes on all BWWWWWAAAAAAAOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWRRRRR over the logos and goes all jittery on that overhead shot of GOTHAM — WHOLESALE MEGA-MANN-OWNAGE, fucking score OWNS; Also like that PRECINCT 13-WORTHY MOODY CUE in the hospital scene between Joker and Dent.

  30. EthanG says:

    So….just how bad is “Day the Earth Stood Still,” considering there are still no reviews?

  31. Sloanish, I wasn’t as taken by Let the Right One In as other seem to be either.
    Dave, by the “schizo” LAFCA do you mean the “incredibly brilliant” LAFCA? Cause that’s all I’m seeing right now. Wall-E for Best Picture! Still Life for Foreign Language Film and Cinematography!!!! Mike Leigh! Penelope Cruz! Heath Ledger! Synechdoche for Production Design! I haven’t seen Synechdoche, but I love that they actually went for something interesting and not, like, Revolutionary Road or whatever. Loving the LAFCA today. Fancy that? People actually saying “that movie deserves Best Picture” and then actually giving it to them! Crazy.
    That trailer for Terminator 4 makes it look like McG took parts from The Dark Knight (brooding seriously), Transformers (giant robots) and Iron Man (desert warfare) and mixed them with a new version of the Terminator mythology (“this is not the future my mother warned me about” = a bit of cop out, no?)

  32. LYT says:

    So….just how bad is “Day the Earth Stood Still,” considering there are still no reviews?
    Most of us have gotten to see it…but there is an embargo on talking about it till opening day.

  33. LexG says:

    WALL-E isn’t a movie.

  34. But because The Day the Earth Stood Still isn’t some “omgimustreviewitnowsowhenoscarnominationsarennouncedeveryonewillknowiknewFIRST!!!!” critics don’t break it? Nice.
    Lex, you’re a naffwit. Shut up.

  35. the word “movie” was meant to be typed after that long word, fyi.

  36. LexG says:

    Kami, you’re a douche.
    Fuck off.

  37. LexG says:

    That reads as harsher than I had imagined, so as a peace offering I’ll send out this next jam to Kamikaze:

  38. jeffmcm says:

    How about this:
    Lex, your position re: Wall-E is irrational and needlessly antagonizing.
    _And_ you’re a douchebag.

  39. bmcintire says:

    TWILIGHT isn’t a movie. It’s the loving rose-tinted memory of a girl’s first tampon.

  40. LexG says:

    Bmcintire, I like you fine so I don’t know why you’re running a beef, but whatevs. I don’t even know what your post means, except for the part where you said K-STEW OWNS, which is true.
    Now get on your knees and BOW.
    Looks like maybe I offended all you “men” who sit around watching CARTOONS.
    Any member of LAFC should have REFUSED to watch WALL-E and all other “ANIMATED” (HA!) features, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MOVIES, they are FOR CHILDREN.
    GROW UP AND BE A GOD, not a douche.

  41. LexG says:

    BTW, OH NOOOOZE, hopes I didn’t break Master Poland’s 20% edict. Especially since I have the biggest fanbase on this motherfucker, and it’s a PROVEN FACT fuckers clock in just to see what genius I’ll fucking drop next on the OTHERWISE COLD BLOG.
    (I love and infinitely respect Poland, I’m just clowning, don’t ban me, DPLurie-lookalike.)
    But if he was talking about McDouche, that’s some straight fucking hilarious shit.

  42. If you’re allowed to say that Wall-E “isn’t a movie” then I think I’m allowed to call you a naffwit. At least what I said is true.
    Lay off the sauce for a night.

  43. The Big Perm says:

    Hey Lex, speaking of being a man, when are you going to grow a pair of balls and actually quit your job and go on auditions? You suburbanite coward.
    You’ll ignore this but I know you read it, and that gives my dark heart just enough pleasure.
    Read and know.
    And Wall-E was a great movie.

  44. tjfar67 says:

    The ‘ol The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule,) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
    80% of the comments are left by 20% people who leave comments.

  45. pchu says:

    I am probably in the minority about this, but I think 2008 has been a pretty decent year for movies. It seems to me every year we complain about the quality of the movie, but when you think about it for a moment, it’s not all that bad.
    WALL-E is as close to a masterpiece as it gets. The Dark Knight is a very ambitious piece of work; not too many action/comic book movie will go where TDK goes.
    I also love Rachel Getting Married, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The Wrestler, Man On Wire, Snow Angel, The Visitor, Tell No One. And I still haven’t seen Frost/Nixon, Rev. Road, Doubt, Ben Button, Gran Tarino yet.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think the problem is ‘too many comments’ I think the problem is ‘too many retarded self-serving punkass drunk whining annoy-people-for-the-sake-of-annoying-people comments’.
    My personal comment count would drop precipitously under different, more stringent circumstances, which I’m sure would make many people happier.
    I watched the extended cut of Tropic Thunder. The added scenes really help to flesh the movie out, which had felt too tight in the theatrical version. I still don’t need as much Les Grossman dancing, though, that just felt bizarrely self-indulgent.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, and my other point was that Downey in Tropic Thunder really delivers a great comedic performance. I think my favorite bit might be when he’s playing a pompous actor playing a black guy playing an Asian woman.

  48. Crow T Robot says:

    I don’t get this love for Wall-E. It’s a snooty little movie that completely violates Pixar’s usual spirit of middle class fun. Feels like it was made by tofu eating jerks instead of the studio’s usual smarty pants joie de vivrers. Even the tone is off balance… when quiet it’s too quiet, when loud it’s too loud. Does anyone remember that the last half of the movie was just a bunch of robots running around?
    ^^jeffmcm, if Downey gets a nomination for Tropic Thunder as many “experts” are indicating — in a role that basically spits in the face of Oscar — I fear the space-time continuum just might shatter. It would be like giving Ted Nugent a PETA award.

  49. chris says:

    Anthony Lane must agree with the “2008 sucks” crowd since his list includes not only the debatably 2007/2008 “4 Months,” but also the inarguably 2007 “We Own the Night.” Doesn’t he have editors?

  50. christian says:

    Unlike vampire love stories between teenagers. Mamet was going to write one until TWILIGHT…

  51. Eric says:

    Crow, if the second half of Wall-E really was just robots running around, it would have been a much better movie. IMHO the whole thing suffers because the second half is about the spectacularly uninteresting humans.

  52. Chris-
    I saw and though the EXACT same thing. Copy editors are and have been getting shit canned faster than film critics so it stands to reason that no, he does not have an editor.
    Besides, “We Own the Night” is reallllly bad.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    Crow, I loved and basically agree with your Wall-E comments.
    Also, I have a feeling the Oscars will be more likely to give Downey a bread-and-butter thanks-for-cleaning-yourself-up Best Actor nomination for Iron Man.
    We Own the Night may be bad, but it has one really, really good scene.
    Typepad: 3 tries.

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