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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB With Apologies

It’s dead out there… but for me, the quiet is more about Sundance prep… which continue…

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44 Responses to “BYOB With Apologies”

  1. Noah says:

    I was really sad to read that Claude Berri had passed away. Truly one of the most underrated filmmakers, the man brought us Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring which is one of the most remarkable films I’ve ever seen. And he also directed the wonderful little Two of Us. His work fell off a bit after Jean/Manon, but he gave us three absolute masterpieces.

  2. Aris P says:

    1. What’s a Che “Roadshow”? What are we, in the 1850’s?
    2. What happened to all that Melissa Leo love I was being slammed over my head with for months on end?
    3. Why are so many people I know losing their jobs (Paramount, WB) — how does this recession affect WB? I mean really. Are they not spending 150 million $$ on tentpole movies any more? Why don’t they spend a little less on films, and not lay off employees, how’s that for an idea.
    4. What was the point of Benjamin Button, other than showcasing Digital Domain’s talent? Was there any point to the narrative theme of someone growing “young” and dying? That structure was nothing more than a selling point, as it had no real purpose in advancing the story in any way. And, come to think of it, what happened to the dying Blanchett and her daughter? Hurricane’s coming and…. nothing.

  3. LexG says:

    YES!!!!! America needs a new DAUGHTRY!!!!

  4. christian says:

    Lex, put down the beer(s). AMERICAN IDOL is crap.

  5. LexG says:

    Christian, you don’t like DAUGHTRY?
    Fight it all you want, but that fucker OWNS. Believe me, no one wanted to believe it less than me.

  6. yancyskancy says:

    Noah: Ditto on Berri. Despite popularity and awards, he never seemed to be quite in the pantheon, but I really loved the films you mentioned (though it’s been ages since I saw The Two of Us), and also Tchao Pantin and Uranus. Germinal was solid, too, and even One Wild Moment had its charms.
    I don’t think I’ll ditto Lex on Daughtry, whose music seems to be the decent but rather typical KROQ fare we all expected of him (I’ve only heard the radio hits though, so my opinion isn’t set in stone). But I do enjoy the show, crappy though it may be.

  7. SJRubinstein says:

    I find the WGA noms for video game writing pretty interesting. See here:
    Obviously, the only games that can get nominated are ones done under a WGA contract – which leaves out most video games on the market – but also the fact that, for the most part, the video game industry is really trying to keep the WGA out.
    Most games are concepted in-house a’la Pixar or any animation company. The “writing” that the WGA judges is often such an amorphous thing as scripts are hundreds and hundreds of pages long and some of the best in-game play work is done by level designers.
    But whatever – the REAL reason that this is a bad move, in my mind, is I’ve witnessed two incidents where the actual writers of a game have to be shunted to the side to make way for “Hollywood names” that didn’t do the work (on both games, the scripts were done long before these people got involved). These big names only allowed themselves to be used if they were listed in the credit as the game’s writers.
    Yes, if the WGA were there, MAYBE there’d be some kind of protection for these game writers who got fucked, but the likelihood is that the protection would go to their own writers – Hollywood guys who carpetbag into games as the publishers want to impress their shareholders (full disclosure – I’m a screenwriter who worked on a couple of games and MAN, you could see the, “oh, great – here comes Mr. Hollywood” look in the faces of the developers in Chicago and Montreal when I was foisted on them – which, honestly, just makes you work twice as hard to prove yourself).
    I know that there’s money to be made by attempting to unionize game writers and I know the “awards” are meant to appeal to the vanity of writers who may slog along with zero recognition, but the video game business is changing FAST – no more $15 million games to make $20 million. It’s going to be $50 and $60 million spent on a game in hopes of making $200 million, which means more and more cinema-style storytelling is going to be asked for.
    Which means, more and more marquee name screenwriters (and yes, directors) getting their name on games that are then done under a WGA contract to solidify their names there and the REAL writers of the games – in-house fellows at the development level – will get perma-fucked.

  8. Krazy Eyes says:

    SJRubinstein . . . which big name writers would you be referring to? I had rumors about this was partially the case on that Orson Scott Card game that was released (and bombed) a few years back but I hadn’t heard any others.
    That list of game writers up for awards is pretty bad — it’s almost as if this was the only 5 games available to vote for. Giving C&C a writing award is kind of like a Sci-Fi Channel original movie being nominated for an Emmy.

  9. a_loco says:

    Roffle at “Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!”
    And Lex, I remember reading an interview of Daughtry in which he said he was “flattered” by comparisons to Nickelback.
    You don’t like Nickelback, do you?

  10. Eric says:

    Krazy Eyes, in general I agree with you– but a Sci-Fi Channel original movie actually was nominated for an Emmy (and won). It was “Battlestar Galactica: Razor.”

  11. SBRubinstein – fascinating stuff (I think you filled my ‘learn something new every day’ quota well before 8am). Of course the super-high cost for super-duper high return is the same issue that now plagues the movie industry. No more mid-budgeted dramas with a healthy return when you can spend $200 million and pray for a half-billion global take. What will become of Super Monkeys and their balls?
    A_loco – here’s the scoop on ‘Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble’
    I do love how Variety’s article blatantly gives away the ending to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

  12. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Back in Hollywood we see 20th and WB are trying to hash out a deal over “Watchmen”.
    By coincidence WB had a 30-second spot for “Watchmen” during the Eagles-Giants NFL playoff game.

  13. Roman says:

    “What was the point of Benjamin Button, other than showcasing Digital Domain’s talent?”
    Here’s a better one:
    What was the point of Slumdog Millionaire? Lord, what a pretentious cliche overrated (but well directed, granted) mess.

  14. EthanG says:

    Daughtry and Nickelcrap are indistiguishable from one another.
    The only great musicians that show has produced are Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Leona Lewis in the UK.
    Anyone surprised at the kudos for “My Bloody Valentine?” Im pretty psyched to see it and “Notorious” this weekend.
    For all the hype, “Slumdog Millionaire” has still made less at the box office than “Meet the Spartans.” Depressing…

  15. Hopscotch says:

    Slumdog is about escape. It’s about hope, it’s about love, it’s about betrayal and consequences. It’s a cornball movie for sure, it’s biggest fans admit that.
    But I’ve got a big heart, and I loved it.

  16. Hopscotch says:

    What other film blogs or film sites do you guys / gals read?
    I’ve decided to stop going to hollywood-elsewhere. Dark Horizons hasn’t been too exciting lately. AICN is…same old shit. just wondering.

  17. EthanG says: is fun for its commentary and “scathingly bitchy reviews.”
    I like for Oscar coverage, for box office and am a HUGE fan of Dave White over at when it comes to movie reviews.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    “I’ve decided to stop going to hollywood-elsewhere. ” Just curious: What was your tipping point?

  19. christian says:

    Wells threatened to banish him?
    And AMERICAN IDOL is pablum. Corporate radio rot.

  20. a_loco says:

    Holdup? Dave White is back at I thought he got fired when Fandango took over?

  21. storymark says:

    I keep telling myself to stop visiting Hollywood Elsewhere, but I can’t help but go back and see what batshit crazy thing he’s got to say each day. Don’t get much out of the site in terms of film, but it can be entertaining in a car wreck kinda way.
    I did get banned once, but then he realized I hadn’t actually said what he banned me for saying.

  22. Hopscotch says:

    I just wrote a super-long post about the site and then typepad wouldn’t let me log in. DRAT.
    In short, his election season posts were just beyond-the-pale mean spirited. His writing persona is just a bitter SOB with an axe to grind. And I did enjoy his site more when he did a thrice a week column.

  23. Krazy Eyes says:

    AMPAS released the foreign-language shortlist this afternoon:
    Austria, “Revanche,” Gotz Spielmann
    Canada, “The Necessities of Life,” Benoit Pilon
    France, “The Class,” Laurent Cantet
    Germany, “The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Uli Edel
    Israel, “Waltz with Bashir,” Ari Folman
    Japan, “Departures,” Yojiro Takita
    Mexico, “Tear This Heart Out,” Roberto Sneider
    Sweden, “Everlasting Moments,” Jan Troell
    I haven’t been following the category as closely this year as in past years. Any major omissions or surprises here? What’s the favorite to win?
    Turkey, “3 Monkeys,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    I think the biggest surprise is ‘Gomorra’ from Italy being excluded.

  25. Gus Petch says:

    What was the point of Benjamin Button?

    It’s a story about maturing and aging, how those are two different things, and how they effect love. A nice story, I think.

    That said, I agree with you about the pointlessness of the Katrina business. What a terrible misstep that was.

    Hopscotch, I gave up on Hollywood Elsewhere, too.

  26. EthanG says:

    you’re in for a treat. He’s been back since mid September. Sort by date and you can peruse the scores of awesome reviews he’s posted since then.

  27. LYT says:

    Dave White is indeed awesome, and it’s good that Fandango came to their senses (though he was also talking about being burned out a bit, so I’m glad he got over that too).
    I’m also a big fan of, the right-wing Christian review site. Probably not for the “right” reasons.

  28. “Benjamin Button” is about nothing. Nothing at all. Lots of folks had trouble figuring out how to make a movie about a guy that ages backward so they skipped any semblance of good story instead choosing to play the sentamentality card. Roth went to his “cut” pile from Gump and threw together a movie about a guy who lives his life to the fullest, all for himself, to himself, affecting few in his life and in the end, no one cares what he did.
    I too read Hollywood-Elsewhere as if it were a car wreck. I simply cannot fathom why PR reps and festivals have Wells at their events any more.
    When I first was getting interested in the industry I volunteered for Sundance. We ALL f-ing HATED Jeff and this was a good 12 years ago. He’s a completely rude, inconsiderate, skeezy person who treats everyone not in the bizz like shit on his shoe. I sense karma coming his way verrrry soon though.
    I also am banned from H-E and never bothered trying to come back.

  29. a_loco says:

    I’m not that big of a fan of Dave White as a critic, and I think he admits that he’s not a “real” critic, but he’s an entertaining writer and a smart guy.
    I notice that they also brought back the Buzz Bin. I stopped going there after the buyout when it was all just a bunch of puff.

  30. EOTW says:

    Don, I too was banned from HE. It happened the firday after McCain picked Palinas his VP mate. Wells posted one of those pics of Anna Nicole Smith with that old man she married and it had McCain and Palin’s name in it or something like that. I’m no GOPer or a Dem for that matter, but it was just the day after she got the nod and already everyone in the press was against her before anything was known about her, so when Wells posted the pic, I commented “Wells, you’re an ass.” I didn’t say asshole, just ass, and the man banned me. People go on there still and say far worse stuff but he banned me for that.
    Of course, Wells is a bleeding heart, white guilt lib and that’s all well and fine, but the man went over the edge there and also when he did the purge og anyone whoever posted a non liberal thing on his site.
    I still think Wells is pretty decent when it comes to film, but his site is increasingly less and less about that and I find myself coming here more and more. NO QUESTION at the comments on this site are FAR MORE interesting and intelligent, though I still find some of the guys over at HE VERY entertaining.

  31. christian says:

    EOTW, the irony is that Wells banned plenty of real liberals during the purge — Wells is actually a right-wing reactionary at heart. Or a sociopath.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    I think the term we’re looking for is ‘self-centered fascist’. I mean, remember that the man made a posting, without any sense of irony, labelled ‘Stalinist purge’ when he got fed up with all the disagreement going on around him. Imagine if he was in a field where he had any actual power over anything beyond his blog.

  33. Just testing… I wrote a response to SJR’s video game post and it never made it to the site. Not big deal (first time in however many years this blog has existed), but checking to see if I did something wrong.

  34. EOTW says:

    Ditto, Noah. I rmeember being a teen and seeing those films back to back, the first non english films I ever saw in the cinema and I remember the horror I felt at the realization that happens towards the second film, dealing with hte “violence” of the first film. Something just horrified me about it and when that old man lays down at the end of the film. Beautiful. Oh yeah, and EB’s naked ass. OMG. Such a beautiful woman.

  35. Hallick says:

    Jean De Florette and Manon of the Spring were the first two foreign films I ever fell in love with. I watched them for the first time on KQED (the San Francisco PBS station) and got completely engulfed in the story. I can still remember the static in the picture on the screen like it was an hour ago. Without that joyful accident, I might have become one of those “subtitles suck ass” types who cheat themselves out of seeing scores of great movies. Claude Berri, I miss you.

  36. Noah says:

    The other great thing about those movies is that you can see how those films (as well as Treasure of the Sierra Madre) were influences on something like There Will Be Blood. What I loved so much about them is that there isn’t something really grand story at work here, it’s just about these handful of people and how their life is affected by having a tract of land and a source of water.
    And EOTW, Emmanuelle Beart is absolutely breathtaking in Manon of the Spring. And if you’ve seen Techine’s The Witnesses or Nathalie… or 8 Women, you know that she’s just as gorgeous today. And what an actress to boot!

  37. Roman says:

    “Slumdog is about escape. It’s about hope, it’s about love, it’s about betrayal and consequences. It’s a cornball movie for sure, it’s biggest fans admit that. ”
    You are lucky you aren’t withing the punching distance ;).
    Why isn’t anyone saying that the movie is one never-ending bummer? I’m tired tonight.
    Bring on the backlash.

  38. Roman, you haven’t been paying attention. At this blog alone I’ve been trying (in vein, it would seem) to point out that the movie is filled with all sorts of nastiness and cruelty and yet, i suppose, because the end and that the movie’s resolution is so completely Hollywood it hurts and because there’s a (admitted, quite joyful) musical sequence at the end that it’s actually a “heartwarming” “hymn to life”.
    Yeah, cause Slumdog celebrates everything in life that I want to experience. hmmm. (Having said that, i don’t mind the flick, I just think it’s far from the “feel good” classic people are portraying it as – but that’s just me).
    a_loco you did NOT just type “roffle”. I think my college professor just died.
    Speaking of dying – Lex, Daughtry? Really? God damn it. Even for Idol contestants he’s dreadful.

  39. LexG says:

    In news that will shock the world, I agree with Kamikaze on something (other than Madonna, and not about Daughtry): SM is a downer and clunky, with a male-fantasy bullshit romance* at its center. I think the last five minutes and the big dance number send everyone out on a high note thinking they just saw ROCKY or something (why didn’t this work for the infinitely superior INLAND EMPIRE?)
    How much of a SAP/douche is the lead kid anyway? Yeah, but he was a fun guy to roll with growing up: “Hey, Jamal, wanna go to the football game?” “Er, no, I’m going to sit around like a DOUCHE mooning over some chick I knew for an hour and a half WHEN WE WERE EIGHT YEARS OLD, and who’s been a gangster’s concubine FOR A DECADE. Maybe if I go on a game show, she’ll just HAPPEN to be kickin’ it watching TV while her PSYCHOTIC HUSBAND is ignoring her to party with 20 other psychos.”
    The greatest ending ever would’ve been if an emboldened and free Pinto would’ve met him at the tracks, said “Thanks for getting me out,” and then ran off on her own, or with some guy who wasn’t a 14-year-old nerd.
    Also, doesn’t the cop like ELECTROSHOCK that dork at one point, then 10 minutes later they’re the thickest of friends?

  40. Roman says:

    “Roman, you haven’t been paying attention. At this blog alone I’ve been trying (in vein, it would seem) to point out that the movie is filled with all sorts of nastiness and cruelty”
    I guess I wasn’t and we are in agreement on this up to a point.

  41. Roman says:

    And what I meant to say by that, I’m with you brother.
    Also, does anyone else find it strange how proud “everyone” India seems to be over this movie. Now don’t get me wrong here, but the flick hardly paints a flattering picture (again, having lived in Asia, I haven’t believed much of it, thankfully) and all.
    I mean, just because the movie was shot there wins major Western awards doesn’t mean… ah, who cares. I guess everyone has to take what they can.
    But how am I supposed to be joyous at the of the movie that a character just won 20 millions rupees if the character himself doesn’t really seem to care much (not to mention since the movie telegraphed it from the very beginning)? Sure he got the girl, but that doesn’t make up for the dips in taste and downright cruelty (you got that right) that happened before.
    And yes, the movie is beutiful and dynamic, if would have been easier to dimiss it if it wasn’t so well done. It almost fools you, I gave up about 45 minutes in.
    Still, what the fuck was that with those American Tourists (and their accents). The worst caricatures this side of Hetalia – Axis Powers. Danny should really should have known better.
    And that tub filled with money, paralling the paths of two brothers who each ended up with millions is unforced subtelty at its best.
    And as for that dance at the end of the movie. I have to say I was underwhelmed by it too. Pretty mediocre by the Bollywood standards they were giving a nod too.
    Written completely stream of consciousness so sorry for any sleep-ups and all.

  42. LexG says:

    I otherwise love Boyle, but I also want to add that it seemed like 90% of the shots were nearly identical to specific images and lighting setups in the films of Tony Scott, Michael Winterbottom, Mereilles, and the film “Last King of Scotland,” which had the same D.P.

  43. LexG says:

    Feel the power:

  44. christian says:

    You just might have the worst taste of anybody on the web, Lex. Bravo.

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