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David Poland

By David Poland


Heading back to The Great Big Freeway today…
The year end seems less decisive this year… kinds rolling rather than just coming to a stop. Perhaps it’s because I was at a bowl game yesterday, anticipating the college national championship in 9 days, the same day as tje BFCAees, with Sundance just a week later.
Perhaps it’s because we are really down to 6 legit Best Picture candidates and ballots just went out. (Reminder – Though my sense is that it is really Slummy vs Frosty for the win, Phase Two is always a separate race and no one should forget that… including me.)
2009 is almost here… and scary as things are, hope is just 22 days away. There are no magic tricks, but as all of us have experienced at one moment or the other, it is small victories that keep us going through adversity… and I expect that the new president will offer that.
At least we are not Gaza Strip civilians caught between two very brutal political war machines, both of whom are sincerely convinced that they act out of survival instinct, both capable of doing terrible things towards that end.

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22 Responses to “BYOBirmingham”

  1. As a Muslim, I cannot lie that I am pro-Palestine, but I am not anti-Israel. I really wish that Israelis and Palestinians would stop fighting and just freakin’ sign a peace treaty, and then discuss a 2 state treaty deal.
    Too many lives, on both sides, have been lost. I don’t want any more fighting there. Neither do Israelis or Palestinians that I have met through my life.
    Oh yeah, and there’s a very good NYT article demanding that we Americans do something about George Bush’s crimes against humanity:
    Happy New Year indeed. I do look forward to seeing Obama in office, though.

  2. Chucky in Jersey says:

    I take it you are a loyal son of Rutgers? The Scarlet Knights were in the Bowl (which they won).

  3. lazarus says:

    Chucky, I wonder if it was as painful for you to write “ Bowl” as it was for me to read it.
    This is why I tune out most of NCAA football.

  4. rossers says:

    Second Phase: Michael Shannon for the win.
    third phase: Jim Carrey as Oscar host for 2010?

  5. Rob says:

    So, David, how much did you hate Peter Bart’s latest column about how Will Smith is trying too hard?

  6. Direwolf says:

    I just started reading Pictures at a Revolution, which Dave highlighted in the Hot Blog a few weeks ago. I rec’d it as a holiday gift. Just a few chapters in but I am liking it a lot so far.

  7. Joe Leydon says:

    Tomorrow my son and I will be in Fort Worth, at the Armed Forces Bowl, to see my beloved University of Houston Cougars crush Air Force. Tonight, however, two wild and crazy Leydon guys will be loose in the DFW Metroplex. Consider this fair warning to all in the area: Lock up your daughters. And your mothers.

  8. David Poland says:

    My wife is a daughter or Rutgers and was working on the field yesterday. I was in the stands.
    And thanks to you, I read Bart’s latest bleat. I don’t know why he is so anxious to tear Smith down… or to refer to a Variety special issues act of fellatio as though it was the bible of Smith’s life.
    I think his relentless “I can talk down to you because I run a paper that continues to become less relevant to the discussion annually” writing may be part of aging writing stars – critics too – who are endlessly annoyed at the hubris of the young and insanely successful. “How dare they try to deliver on what I have been claiming is missing from studio films… and not do it the exact way I would!!!”
    And I have to say, it is one of the things that drives me mad about some of the back and forth in here. Just because I dislike a film does not mean that I can’t assess the business around it… or see the awards stuff clearly, etc. I was shocked by the size of Transformers or The Dark Knight, but it doesn’t keep me from being able to do the math. Opinion and facts are NOT the same thing. And as much as I have blurred the line by mixing forms, there is a real separation in all but a few unfortunate pieces of work that I’ve done.
    Paramount has made a lot of mistakes, but Ben Button is not turning out to be one of them, at least on the business side. When my future concerns are bent backwards by the facts as they happen, it is my job to acknowlege that too… not to push some agenda that finds some perceived potential cloud on a sunny day.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, David, tell me this: Am I going to be the only critic in North America who puts Hancock on his 10 Best list?

  10. David Poland says:

    Probably not, Joe.
    If I do 20 this year, it will defintely be there.
    I have a lot shorter list this year than normal, but I don’t know if Hancock makes 10… close.

  11. Triple Option says:

    Am I the only one pissed that the BCS Championship is all the way down to Jan 8th? this is arguably the worst bowl line up in history. Cincy, Mich St, Nebraska and South Carolina playing on new year’s day?! Ridiculous! Seriously, only Ok St and Oregon seems mildly compelling. Bama and Utah might be alright but I’d much rather see Bama play Texas. I’m already worried what kind of year 2009 will be with the likes of USC vs Penn St being the day’s highlight of Jan 1st.
    I hope OU learns to play defense so the long wait won’t be too anti climatic. There’s no reason why Ball St and Tulsa should be played on Jan 6th. Is there a national audience for that after seeing Texas tech, texas, Bama and USC? How bout some build up? LSU and Georgia tech sounds a heck of a lot more compelling than Buffalo and UConn and yet that game is set for Jan 3 and the only one on the docket.
    Did I at one point say I wasn’t going to bitch about this? Maybe the games will be good even though they stink on paper. 34 bowl games. 34! Over half teams in college football are playing in a bowl. There’s college football on every night of the week during the regular season. How the NCAA can act like moral watchdogs is beyond me. Can anyone exercise an ounce of self control before they completely cannibalize their own sport. I’m actually glad East Carolina and W Michigan get some props for consistently putting up good programs but wiping out ten bowl games and reshuffling the deck might have brought more cumulative eyes to the games.

  12. JohnBritt says:

    I’ve seen a few movies over the past days and I wanted to share my thoughts.
    Doubt – loved it, loved the performances. I think it should be a legitimate best picture contender. I also don’t feel that Amy Adams should be overlooked. I thought her performance was just right and she should make the cut.
    Seven Pounds – loved it too. I don’t think Smith is “trying to hard.” I understood some of the twist early on but not too soon. I thought it was very well done and it pushed the right buttons and I didn’t care.
    Marley & Me – enjoyed the performances by both Aniston and Owens, very realistic I thought. I know couples like that. I can identify with wanting to get rid of a dog that causes havoc but still loving it nonetheless. Very entertaining and pleasant.
    Milk – brilliant performance by Sean Penn and my favorite by an actor all year. Give him the oscar. Of course, I haven’t seen Frost/Nixon, so I could still change my mind, but probably not. I loved many of the performances in this movie, but Diego Luna’s character was annoying. I especially love when actors like Josh Brolin start finding all the right roles and totally reinvent their careers (No Country, W., and this one). Good for him.
    Have yet to see Benjamin Button, but that is next up. Rachel getting married has not made it here yet, but I am looking forward to it.

  13. Bart Smith says:

    Rutgers is just lucky that Russell Wilson got injured. Once they announced that he wasn’t going to play in the second half, there probably wasn’t a State fan in existence who didn’t know how that game was going to end.

  14. mysteryperfecta says:

    “Am I the only one pissed that the BCS Championship is all the way down to Jan 8th?”
    The 8th?!? I didn’t know that. Its ridiculous. Should be on the 3rd, or 4th at the latest.

  15. LexG says:

    I just watched the 2nd X-Files movie. I assume some of you checked that out in theaters?
    Um, just me, or did they CUT OUT ENTIRELY the final confrontation and the COMPLETE EXPLANATION FOR THE VILLAINS’ PLAN????????????????
    For about 2/3rds, despite some choppiness, I was quite enjoying it, finding it more cinematic than the first theatrical film, with some nice cinematography and a cold, snowy, all-business vibe.
    Then Pileggi shows up on the scene without explanation, the villains never get a comeuppance or an explanation, and the movie just kinda ends; Imagine if SILENCE OF THE LAMBS went to fade-out right where Levine lets Foster into his house, then crash-cut to a shot of Scott Glenn giving her a big thumbs up, cut to end credits.

  16. LexG says:

    My IDEAL New Year’s Day:
    Ordering a Ukrainian escort with athletic skillz and making her do a handstand so she’s upside down and I can do lines off her taint after consuming two full bottles of vodka.
    My PROBABLE New Year’s Day:
    Consuming said two bottles of vodka, calling the suicide hotline and asking if they have any hot chicks, then ordering a pizza, crying a lot, snorting some FUN-DIP, and watching Loose Screws on DVD.

  17. LexG says:

    I need ESCORT ADVICE from everyone.
    Life is bullshit.

  18. Eric says:

    Lex, why not just take a vacation to Russia? I went to St. Petersberg over the summer and every other girl there would make you explode in your pants.
    I don’t know if they’re easy enough for you– I never tried because I was engaged then (now married)– but there were enough clubs that you should be able to find out for yourself without much trouble. And if nothing else I’m sure the prostitutes there are cheap. Just don’t get your throat slit.

  19. Boonwell says:

    I’m a little behind in my movie-going. I finally caught up with 1942’s THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS last night and really want to know why it’s considered a classic. I hated it. The acting, the script, the cinematography, all of it. Can anyone shed some light? Joe Leydon? Jeff? Kami? Lex?

  20. jeffmcm says:

    I’ve only seen that one once and didn’t have a strong opinion about it either way, sorry to say. But the cinematography is pretty brilliant, outside of everything else.
    Hey DP, can you start a recurring “Lex therapy thread” that we can all ignore?

  21. frankbooth says:

    Just do it already, Lex. What kind of wuss worries about STDs? You’re an embarrassment to alcoholics everywhere.
    You should be going home with sixty-year-old barflies, puking on Marc Singer in a nowhere dive, passing out in revolving doors. What kind of stories are you gonna have to tell when you get sober? Think about those future AA meetings and the hot women you’ll put to sleep with your tales of non-debauchery. GATHER YE SPEAKER-MEETING STANDUP MATERIAL WHILE YE MAY, SON!
    Moving on: I saw an ad for the 3D remake of My Bloody Valentine, which led me to look up clips from the original, which I have never seen despite having read about it in Fangoria way back when. Lotsa pics of really gory, sick scenes, which were apparently almost entirely cut out before release.
    Someone on YouTube called it “Quentin Tarantino’s favorite slasher film.” But doesn’t The Burning hold that title?
    I concluded that there is no more meaningless phrase than “Quentin Tarantino’s favorite…” Is there any cheap exploitation movie from the Seventies or early Eighties that is NOT his favorite? Has he ever said anything like “I gotta admit, Nazi Werewolf Biker Lesbians was kinda lame”?
    I suppose he’s just very, very enthusiastic and really means it every time he says it. But still…

  22. christian says:

    I watched MY BLOODY VALENTINE every single time it was on HBO. One of my favorites too. A creepy creepy ending…

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