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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB Weekend 020609

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161 Responses to “BYOB Weekend 020609”

  1. movieman says:

    I’m sure this will be a minority opinion on this blog, but I had a perfectly decent time at “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
    Yeah, it’s 20-30 minutes too long, but the cast (even a miscast Jennifer Connelly) is enormously appealing, and it even brought a tear to my eyes on two separate occasions (both times in scenes involving the Affleck and Aniston characters).
    And did anyone else notice how cool it was to see Ginnifer Goodwin and Justin Long reunited for the first time since the late great NBC dramedy “Ed”?

  2. fmf says:

    You probably will be in the minority. Then again this mornings UK/Irish media gave the Benjamin Buttons film very mixed reviews and I just loved it, want to see it again. 2 or 3 other films are on my list to see this weekend, though I may try and fit in this chick flick after all.

  3. LexG says:

    Speaking of He’s Just Not:
    Bradley Cooper = least famous person ever to host SNL? (He’s scheduled to host this weekend.)
    Someone, somewhere in Hollywood *REALLY* wants this guy to happen. But isn’t his biggest claim to fame a smallish role on the first couple seasons of “Alias,” and few best-buddy roles opposite bigger stars?

  4. scooterzz says:

    movieman — i probably shouldn’t do this because we seldom (if ever) agree but….really?!?…that movie is the most offensive mainstream film i’ve seen in ages…1) every woman in the film is either needy or ditzy…2)two black people in…where?…BALTIMORE…3)barrymore works at a gay paper and is surrounded by the queeniest crew since the 60’s…they make paul lynde, charles nelson riley and waylon flowers look like truckers….not to even mention it’s a romantic comedy that’s not romantic or funny…..
    i know we don’t usually have the same taste in film but this is a new record…..but that’s what makes horse races, i guess…..

  5. LexG says:

    Scoot, since ScarJo plays a Yoga instructor, is there at least a bone (zing) thrown to the straight guys– ie, Scarlett in a leotard flexing and posing, with really subtle shots of Cooper bugging his eyes and checking out her ass?
    Probably not.
    How much of a DOUCHE is Kevin “Phony New York Accent” Connolly in it? Do they at least keep his sawed-off midget ass away from the pretty women?

  6. “(even a miscast Jennifer Connelly)”
    When is she ever cast well? At least post-Requiem.

  7. LexG says:

    Well, Beautiful Mind, for starters. Somebody must’ve thought so.
    She was good in House of Sand and Fog, even though I didn’t like the movie. Liked her in Blood Diamond.
    Yeah, she’s kind of a pill sometimes, but she’s usually good.

  8. scooterzz says:

    lex — honestly…if you pay money to see this…well, then you have too much money….and, i don’t recall cooper doing a tex avery wolf face but that may have been a good moment….
    and, just to clarify…’offensive’ might have been too strong a word…it would be offensive if i thought these people set out to offend…whst it is, is more ‘misguided’ or ‘clueless’….

  9. LexG says:

    Pains me to miss a Johansson on the big screen, but thanks for the advice. Guess if I have to see a sorry romcom just for ogling purposes, I’ll save my cash for Isla next weekend.

  10. LYT says:

    A Beautiful Mind? Wasn’t she playing a character who was Latino in real life, or something like that?
    Saw Coraline and wished for just a little bit more story. But the kids who grow up with it today will be getting stoned to it in college, for sure. I think there were stoners in the audience, based on the audible freakouts I could hear when the little mice started jumping around.
    Also, during the trailer for Ice Age 3, one of them yelled out at Skrat, “Dude, you’ve been chasing it for three movies! Don’t give it up now!”
    Lex, have you seen the new Hot Toys doll of Scarlett in Nazi gear (from The Spirit)? It looks amazing, and is way out of my price range.

  11. LexG says:

    Lou: Just looked up that Silken Floss doll. Holy shit, any chance they can make that in real doll form?
    I’d never leave the house.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    “Bradley Cooper = least famous person ever to host SNL?”
    You’re forgetting Miskel Spillman.

  13. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by He’s Just Not That Into You. And I think Jennifer Connolly took some risks here, just as she did in House of Sand and Fog.
    But never mind that: Tonight, I am raising a glass to the late, great James Whitmore. You can go over to my blog if you want to read my obit.
    But here’s something we can discuss here: I would say that, depending on your age, you remember Whitmore best for either THEM! or THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. But he will always have a special place in my heart for being part of the once-in-a-lifetime cast of THE SPLIT (1968).

  14. scooterzz says:

    leydon — to some of a certain age, he will always be abraham lincoln jones….
    and, i’m kind of surprised that you gave ‘hjntiy’ a pass….

  15. leahnz says:

    ‘I think there were stoners in the audience, based on the audible freakouts I could hear when the little mice started jumping around.’
    ‘Also, during the trailer for Ice Age 3, one of them yelled out at Skrat, “Dude, you’ve been chasing it for three movies! Don’t give it up now!”‘
    those two comments cracked me up, lyt.
    RIP, james whitmore. i think the first thing i can remember seeing him in was ‘tora, tora, tora!’ (fantastic flick), and he plays ‘dr. frock’ in my all-time fave b-movie with p. ann miller and tom sizemore, ‘the relic’. i hope he’s off to greener pastures

  16. scooterzz says:

    well, he’s certainly off to a green pasture of sorts…

  17. Joe Leydon says:

    Scoot: Well, of course, I’m old enough to remember The Law and Mr. Jones. I’m just frankly amazed that anyone else here is. I figured I was the freakin’ Ancient Mariner here.

  18. scooterzz says:

    i’ve said it before, joe…i gotcha beat by a couple of years…

  19. scooterzz says:

    leydon — i just read your whitmore obit…nice…i also interviewed him for ‘shawshank’ and was toying with the idea of retrieving the tape from the garage but it’s pouring and cold and i’m dying of pneumonia (well, i have a bad cold…potato, potahto…)…all that said, he really was a generous guy with so many stories…. i’ll dig out the tape tomorrow….

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Scoot: Am I mistaken, or was that junket one of the few times he publicly discussed his battle with alcohol abuse?

  21. jeffmcm says:

    He’ll be selling Miracle-Gro in Heaven.
    I’ll always remember his Twilight Zone appearance.

  22. scooterzz says:

    it seemed to be something he needed to talk about during that junket…i’m goin’ in for the tape tomorrow…if you don’t hear from me…the garage won….

  23. I’d just like to point out that the city where I live (Melbourne) has had its hottest day of all time today. Needless to say, I’m a bit warm right now and can’t really be bothered thinking but the fact that LexG will go see something like He’s Just Not That Into You (nothing wrong with that) and then turn around and blast people for going to Wall-E pretty much shows off how idiotic he is.
    Jeff and Leah and Big Perm, I’d suggest you try and hear Lily Allen’s “Fuck You”. If you apply it this blog I think you’d get a kick out of it.

  24. Oh, the song is actually about George W Bush, but it’s applicable to whoever you like, really.

  25. Chucky in Jersey says:

    FWIW James Whitmore was in the original “Planet of the Apes” alongside Charlton Heston. Shed a tear.

  26. movieman says:

    Hey, Scoot- I hadn’t realized we were so wildly out of sync in our movie tastes.
    Maybe I was too easy on “He’s Just Not,” but the things I responded to (especially the Aniston/Affleck subplot) really touched me and almost cancelled out the film’s negatives (overlength, lack of genuine Baltimore flava, etc.)…sort of like w/ December’s “Marley and Me.”
    And considering that this was Kwapis’ follow-up to the uber-lame, well-nigh indefensible “License to Wed,” it was a fairly gratifying return to (better) form by the director of my beloved (no shit) “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1.”

  27. Nick Rogers says:

    I realize Saturday and Sunday will bump it a bit, but that low Friday for “The Pink Panther 2” gives me hope for the world.

  28. Chucky in Jersey says:

    All around the world the Film Snobs are horrified at the rise of the Chick Flick.
    At least it’s the one good thing to come out of all those movies filmed before the writers’ strike.

  29. I know we typically avoid the topic of Jeff Wells…but this is just too rich.
    Have you guys seen the hullabaloo at the Oxford Film Fest?? Here’s the recap:
    Basically the festival flew him out and put him up and asked him to be on a panel in return (as well as cover the fest). When the wi-fi in his room wasn’t up to snuff, he had a full-on foot stomping meltdown and posted on his blog that he was going home. Of course he bitched enough to get moved to another hotel and stayed. But NOW he’s playing victim because all the other journos there are so disgusted by his antics, they’re “shunning” him.
    I wish myself or Hollywood or anyone could create a character like Jeff. He’s nucking futs.

  30. yancyskancy says:

    movieman: Since I agree with you about the merits of Traveling Pants 1 and the demerits of License to Wed, I’m hopeful that I’ll also share your reaction to HJNTIY. Kwapis has had spotty luck with features, but I like him, and he’s one of the seemingly few working directors who can talk the cinephile talk about films made before Star Wars. He directed last night’s fine episode of The Office, too.

  31. movieman says:

    Glad to know there’s another (male) “Sisterhood 1” fan out there, Yancy.
    I’ve always been puzzled by Kwapis’ uneven theatrical ouevre since he does such great work in episodic television.
    “License to Wed” was particularly sad, especially since he was working with “Office” regular Krasinski. Certainly any half-hour ep of “The Office”–even the weakest ones–has more laughs, and creative smarts, than can be found in the entire 90-minute running time of “Wed.” (And I love me some Mandy Moore, too.)

  32. yancyskancy says:

    movieman: Yes indeed. After “Sisterhood 1,” the Kwapis-Krasinski-Moore team seemed like a slam-dunk (for me and you anyway!). I guess we foolishly underestimated Robin Williams’ ability to suck the life out of a movie. Though to be fair, the script really wasn’t there either.
    I too love Mandy Moore: I thought she was gonna be the next big romcom star after “Chasing Liberty,” and she’s even good in the execrable “Because I Said So.” She’s waaay better than the films she gets.
    Why am I getting the feeling that I have just lost any scintilla of respect Lex may have had for me?

  33. movieman says:

    Moore’s inability to generate solid scripts confuses and depresses me, too, Yancy.
    I’ve been a fan since her days as an MTV chanteuse.
    Moore’s bitch-on-the-beach in “Princess Diaries” reminded me of the young Shelley Fabares (a very good thing!), and she’s been terrific in everything from “A Walk to Remember” (a really lovely, touching performance despite some truly icky Nick Sparks source material), “Saved” and “American Dreamz.” Maybe her metier is less rom-com leading lady than ice-queen supporting rhymes-with-witch.
    Of course, I used to think Valerie Bertinelli was going to be the next Sally Field back in the days of “One Day at a Time,” too….and we both know how wrong I was about that. Or maybe it was just Eddie Van Halen’s fault.

  34. christian says:

    I can’t believe somebody hasn’t put Wells in his own reality show. I mean, it would be huge. Or at least somewhat big. Or absolutely jaw-dropping.
    I met him at a screening where he took a weird potshot at my friend’s film during the q&a and I confronted him after. I think he was smacked down by a few others there and he made up for it by rightly pimping the film on HE. But that glaze in his eyes tells you all…

  35. T. Holly says:

    Real meaning for the day having just watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall (for nudity comparison to The Reader and research on a work related ratings issue), which is probably a chick flick, when Jason Segel can’t get it up for Kristen Bell, he’s just not really into her. Hehe.

  36. In regards to Mandy Moore’s filmography… it’s very sad. She started out so well – Saved! in particular is great and she got a hit out of A Walk to Remember – but… yikes. American Dreamz was dreadful. One of the five worst movies of the decade for sure. Although How to Deal is a so-bad-its-good movie for me. That shit is HILARIOUS! Everything bad that could possibly go wrong happens. It’s brilliant.

  37. scooterzz says:

    ‘american dreamz’ was bad as a whole but she was pretty good…her stuff taken out of context is fine for a reel…..

  38. LexG says:

    Mandy Moore rules.
    12th hottest women on the planet.

  39. Moore was the best thing about that trash, but as a fan of Idol (past, more so than present) I found it demeaning, insulting and so incredibly mean spirited that I wanted to spit venom at it.

  40. LexG says:

    Hey, KC, are you watching this season of the U.S. version? It’s awesome… except they axed my early fave this week. (Emily, who OWNED.)
    Or you probably meant the Aus. version.
    In shocking news, I agree with Kami on something: American Dreamz was the most obnoxious, hateful and unfunny movie of its year.
    Hey, wasn’t that from the director of TWILIGHT 2?

  41. scooterzz says:

    well, that sounds a tad over the edge, but, o.k….we won’t mention it again (spit venom stains…i’m told)..

  42. Ew, why would I watch American Idol? Although I did watch the Fantasia/Jennifer/LeToya season.

  43. leahnz says:

    hey kam, i haven’t heard ‘fuck you’ yet, i’ll have to sort it (pity they don’t do those little .45 vinyl records like when i was a kid, they could drop a .45 entitled ‘the fuck-fucking-off and die! collection’, side one: ‘fuck you’ (l. allen), side two: ‘what don’t you fucking understand?’ (revolucian fet. c. bale).
    (and man, you guys are stonking hot, eh, it’s been hot here but just hot hot, not died and gone to hell hot, hope you get some relief soon, esp. with the fires)

  44. LexG says:

    If there’s ANY JUSTICE IN THE WORLD, in 2009 CHRIS EVANS will the the ULTIMATE KIND OF GUY WHO WOULD WEAR A STRUCTURE SHIRT but OH NO I hope they don’t go out of business by then, because STRUCTURE SHIRTS are made for guys like HARTNETT and CHRIS KLEIN and FREDDIE PRINZE,
    I EVEN GOT A NUMBER FROM A HOT CHICK BECAUSE I WORE MY STRUCTURE SHIRT TO THE CENTRAL CASTING OFFICE, and even though I’m just an EXTRA, she thought I was gonna be in SCREAM 2 because she knows JASON KENNEDY will TOTALLY rock the STRUCTURE.
    Also it is awesome.
    How I have my hair cut in the late ’90s fashion, with the gel PUSHING IT FORWARD…. THEN SPIKING IT UP, just like Pitt in SEVEN!
    the main thing giving my career structure…
    – A BRILLIANT POEM by the one and only LexG.
    Please pass it along to a friend.

  45. LexG says:


  46. yancyskancy says:

    Lex, sounds like your bound for Mu Mu Land. Nice poem.
    But I must say that your invisibility scenario is rather surprisingly unambitious, carnally speaking.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Mu Mu like the large, flowing outfit? Yeah, that sounds right.

  48. LexG says:

    How is it possible that in a LAND OF MEGADOUCHE around here, one man can “get it” as much as fucking yancy?
    But, seriously, dude, I am above all things A GENTLEMAN and a CLASS ACT. I’m not the FUCKING HOLLOW MAN. When I TURN INVISIBLE, I keep it G-rated in my exploits.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    Lex, you are a huge liar. If not now, then in your daily life (I am above all things A GENTLEMAN and a CLASS ACT). If you had a genuine bone (so to speak) in your body, you’d be a braver, more interesting person. Instead you’re just a sad alky who isn’t even interesting enough to die in a gutter, but rather in a perfectly decent middle-class apartment.

  50. LexG says:

    Playing SEMANTICS AHOY! over my post about WHAT I’D DO IF I WAS THE FUCKING INVISIBLE MAN. At 3am, no less.

  51. Mu Mu Land? Oh man, “Justified & Ancient” by The KLF feat. Tammy Wynette. Utterly brilliant.
    Leah, I think something like 100 people have died so far and entire towns have been wiped off the map. My partner’s parents had to flee their home yesterday, but the house is still standing thankfully. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a disaster down here. I can see the city skyline from my apartment and yesterday it was covered in smoke. Very ominous.

  52. LexG says:

    It’s a Saturday night at 3am, I’m drunk, and ONE HEADLIGHT by The Wallflowers is playing on my iPod.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    Gee, Lex, if you invited me over to discuss the finer points of your postings, that would be fine by me.

  54. leahnz says:

    shit, kam, that’s gnarly. sending you very rainy thoughts

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry to hear about your partner’s parents, Kami, best wishes from another part of the world with absurd fires (Southern Caifornia).

  56. movieman says:

    Mu Mu Land? Oh man, “Justified & Ancient” by The KLF feat. Tammy Wynette. Utterly brilliant.
    Wow; no truer words have ever been spoken–or typed–on this blog board, Kam!
    To set the record straight, I’m not a fan of “American Dreamz,” only Mandy Moore’s deliciously satirical performance in that otherwise “shoulda/coulda-been-great-but-it’s-oh-so-lame-and-utterly-forgettable” flop. And the poor dear had to work opposite that (infinitely) boring slab of granite Chris Klein, too.
    Now that’s someone–sort of like the nearly as BORING! Josh Hartnett–whose inability to rise above C-list status is perfectly understandable, and just.
    Speaking of Klein and Hartnett, does anyone else remember that icky 2000 teen romance they did with Leelee Sobieski called “Here on Earth”? That thing was so dishwater dreary it made “A Walk to Remember” (another mediocre film redeemed by a fab M/Moore performance) seem like “Titantic” by comparison.

  57. movieman, my love for ’80s and ’90s pop/dance/alt music knows no boundary.
    The thing with American Dreamz is that it falls victim to one of my biggest pet peeves. When the movie-within-a-movie (or, as in this case, the tv-show-within-a-movie) is completely and utterly unbelievable. For starters, the entire planet is not obsessed with American talent programs. Secondly, they are not aired lived around said planet. Then there’s the fact that a show where talent that atrocious makes it to the final episode would not be the most popular show in America or the world. Then there’s the fact that no matter who the guest judge (whether it be the President or Richard Marx) the SERIES FINALE of the (apparently) most popular show on the planet would not be able to broadcast with only one commercial break. It was seriously like Weitz had never even watched an episode of Idol (because it’s “beneath” him or whatever) and yet decided to mock it. Why does Hugh Grant not only host but act as the only judge?
    I know it might be pedantic, but I can’t stand that sort of stuff. I am reminded of The TV Set, too. Could’ve been better if the show they were producing (whether the good version of the silly version that made it to air) actually looked like they’d get past pilot.
    And then there’s the fact that Dreamz hits you over the head with it’s “satire”. Wow, Simon Cowell is rude? SHOCKING. George W Bush is an idiot? Why never…!
    The scene where they ask Moore to refilm her acceptance scream is the only legitimately funny moment.

  58. movieman says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more.
    Unless the “reality” you’re starting from is both texturally and psychologically credible, the satiric potshots dissipate before even hitting their target(s).
    That was surely the problem with “Dreamz,” “Death to Smoochy,” “The TV Set” and lots of other movies I’m too sleep-befogged to recall at this early hour.

  59. leahnz says:

    ‘Speaking of Klein and Hartnett, does anyone else remember that icky 2000 teen romance they did with Leelee Sobieski called “Here on Earth”?’
    good grief, did you have to go and remind me, movieman? if i’m gonna watch a silly leelee flick involving two leading men, i want them to be paul walker and the incomparable steve zahn and the movie must be ‘road kill’ (or ‘joy ride’ to you northern hemisphere weirdos), my all-time fave lame road trip/horror b-movie

  60. EOTW says:

    Just got done checking out RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. I get the love for Hathaway, at least in a couple of her scenes (the one where she tells about her brother) and some others but did anyone else find htis film a choore to sit through? All that fuckin’ music drove me up the fucking wall and this whole East Coast, do what you want liberal BS was really grating on the nerves, I tells ya.
    I had heard this film compared to some of Altman’s work and that’s pretty laughable. Bob would’ve whipped this thing into shape and cut the fat out. None of the maby pamby crap/
    there were good things in it, namely Dewitt and AH, but enough is enough.
    Also, did Demme not know that he was making an indictment against liberalness? I know the guy’s a rampant homosexual and that’s all well and fine, god love ya, but clearly, in the scene between Kim and her mom, it is a scathing indictment against hands off parenting and all that “if it feels good, do it” crap. I don’t know a parent, personally, who’d leave a child alone with a junkie, family or not. I’m surprised GOPers weren’t out praising the pic.
    I don’t think AH gets the Oscar this year, but’s she obviously a good actress and going to get one sooner than later. She really stands out in a few of the scenes here.
    Jesus, I’m not even going to talk about the black guy singing Neil Young. at the ceremony.
    One time viewing here.

  61. yancyskancy says:

    I agree with a lot of what you said about the film, EOTW, but what’s this about Demme’s “rampant” homosexuality? He’s been married twice and has three kids — I know, I know, doesn’t necessarily settle the question, but if your assertion is common knowledge, it’s the first I’ve heard of it. Not that it matters a damn, of course.

  62. LexG says:

    Anne Squackaway.

  63. David Poland says:

    Lex… enough with your penis already. No one wants to hear it… really…. NO ONE.

  64. David Poland says:

    As I have said before, anyone who claims that Altman cut his films any tighter than Rachel can’t have much experience with or love of Altman.
    Rachel Getting Married is the Altman-style film that tells us whether the alleged Altman-lover really much cared for Altman at all.

  65. LexG says:

    Sighs… alright, if you have to rain on my parade…
    But *only* because it’s Poland asking.
    Poland, I wrote a poem above about my long-sleeve Structure shirt from 1997 that made me look like I belonged on the poster for a Miramax horror flick. It’s really good. Check it out.

  66. leahnz says:

    ‘Also, did Demme not know that he was making an indictment against liberalness? I know the guy’s a rampant homosexual and that’s all well and fine, god love ya, but clearly, in the scene between Kim and her mom, it is a scathing indictment against hands off parenting and all that “if it feels good, do it” crap. I don’t know a parent, personally, who’d leave a child alone with a junkie, family or not. I’m surprised GOPers weren’t out praising the pic.’
    that is one creepy paragraph, eotw, what does one have to do with the other and the next? do i detect a note of smiling homophobia in there? and what makes you think demme is out to spread some ‘liberal’ message with the film instead of weaving a complex tapestry to actually mirror the often difficult, complex nature of life? (the film hasn’t even come here so it’s just the comment that got up my nose and the assumptions about demme, who is a class act)

  67. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think Rachel Getting Married is an ‘indictment of liberalness’ as much as it is so wrapped up liberalism that it runs out of air. Not sure what DP’s comment above means, except that the only Altman movies this one reminds me of are the mediocre/bad ones like Dr. T and the Women or A Wedding where the whimsy and ‘Altman-ness’ are forced and affected.

  68. EOTW says:

    I honestly should’ve at least Googled to see if Demme is gay. I honestly thought he was. He just has always come across that way to me. I apologize.
    I can assure all that I am far from homophobic. Not going to specifics about how I know this, but just trust me on this one, folks.
    Poland: Come on, just because someone shoots to make an “Altmanesque” film, doesn’t mea n a true Altman fan has to like it. Not sure what street cred I need to prove my love for the guy’s work, but let me know and I’ll see if I can find the documents.
    The thing that makes RGM seem like a cheap homage to his work is that it feels so hollow after all is done and the credits roll. Altman was able to get such real feeling into his pics with so little effort it seemed (which was the genius of his work. It looked simple but was far from it). Conversely, to me, RGM feels like a simple film with very little at the core, no real drama because we have seen it all.
    It has its moments (As I have said, I think the confessional scene wit Hathaway at the group meeting ivery well done).
    Ok, so I was kinda joking that it was an indictment against liberalness. I meant it more as a goof but it is clear, and sad, to see that Kim (yeah, I saw in the credits the character’s name is spelled Kym, but I’d slap a person if I met someone who spelled it that way!) suffered from parents who couldn’t help her or even deal with it and never did, soshe could never truly get better.
    I do know a thing or two about lax parenting and it never seems to end well for the children involved, sadly. So I do think that scene is a great thing. It doesn’t excuse what the girl did as a teenager at all, but it also admits that, sometimes, we are aided in our descents by thos we love, because no one around us has the strength to step forward and say “no more.”

  69. Even if he was gay, why would just go around saying he’s “rampant” like he’s a cheap whore?

  70. EOTW says:

    Ok, Kami. I feel dumb about this (and am). He just struck me as being obviously gay, so there was no need to check it out. Would “flaming” have made it better?

  71. movieman says:

    Hell, yeah, Leahnx!
    “Joy Ride” is definitely a fun time at the movies.
    (Would you believe “JR” actually played TIFF in 2001? Weird, huh?)
    It’s too bad that drive-ins were already a vanishing breed when this thing hit theaters. It really is the perfect “open air theater” summertime flick.
    As a “Rachel”-come-lately fan(atic), I understand where EOTW is coming from.
    I pretty much had the same reaction my first time out (minus his weird attempt to out Jonathan Demme), but a second viewing months later made (literally) a world of difference. Of course, watching it Obama Inauguration Week might have had something to do with it.

  72. movieman says:

    Sorry for ending your name with an “x” instead of a “z,” Leahnz.
    Too much red wine with dinner, i’m afraid….

  73. leahnz says:

    yay to red wine! (x, zed, close enough; you can dispense with the nz altogether if you’re so inclined, i only use it on the end because the name ‘leah’ is almost always taken already so it’s the easiest thing for me to remember!)
    and yay to a fellow ‘joy ride’ fan! it would be the perfect dive-in movie, if only there were any left (are there many left in the US?). i think there’s one remaining drive-in here, out in the wop-wops. i saw the spooky nz movie ‘mr. wrong’ there many years ago now, it was bonza. i think they just play whatever old prints they can get their hands on. i love drive-ins.

  74. jeffmcm says:

    I’m intrigued, where are ‘the wop-wops’? I would love it if that was an actual New Zealand place-name but I assume it’s the NZ equivalent of ‘the boonies’.

  75. leahnz says:

    boonies it is, jeff. for a small island nation, we got boonies like you wouldn’t believe

  76. Hallick says:

    “boonies it is, jeff. for a small island nation, we got boonies like you wouldn’t believe”
    Do the Maoris have a word of their own for the wop-wop? Or is wop-wop that word?

  77. leahnz says:

    hallick, wop-wops isn’t maori but my knowledge of the language isn’t good enough to answer that question on my own, so i consulted my on-line maori-to-english dictionary.
    ‘wop-wops’ must be colonial english in origin, and the closest maori word i could find was for ‘bush, forest’, which is ‘te ngahere’ (silent ‘g’), or ‘out in the wild’, which is ‘puihi’. now the next time you’ve had enough you can scream at the family, ‘i’m going puihi! don’t wait up.’

  78. LexG says:

    Not sure anyone here’s watching or caring about the Grammys,
    but Robert Plant and Alison Krauss for album of the year?
    Typical Grammy cluelessness?
    I have no vested interest in any of the other choices particularly, but without having heard the record, seems like the typical reward-the-warhorse, ignore-the-new Grammy tendency.

  79. The Grammies have basically become a place to reward old geezers who are about to (or already have) died. Sad, but true. Ray Charles, Luther Vandross and so many other artists of that kind have hardly made any important impact on music this decade and yet they are big award winners (album, record, etc).
    “Would “flaming” have made it better?”
    You haven’t paid much attention to me around here have you?

  80. LexG says:

    Yeah. I mean, Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin, much respect and all, but not remotely a current or relevant artist to the here and now. Like, I thought this Alison Kraus/Plant thing was from *1994* or something. I assume this is a rematch? Don’t know ANYONE who listens to that.
    Granted, Radiohead and Coldplay are practically old-school themselves at this point, I’m not a particularly huge fan or anything, but at least it’s for people under 50.

  81. LexG says:

    And, oh, yeah, because she was there and owns:
    I wonder if she’d go out with me.

  82. IOIOIOI says:

    Lex: you are thinking of COVERDALE/PAGE from back in your beloved 90s. Gosh dern! That record was horrible. Thus another example as to why the 90s sucked ass. Outside of the fact that Zardoz or whatever the fuck they were called, were the predecessor of fucking CROSS COLORS! CROSS COLORS, PEOPLE! CROSS COLORS!
    That aside; I dig Raising Sand, but it plays to the Grammy wheelhouse. It also demonstrates how the Grammys suffers from FIFTYSOMETHINGITUS like the Oscars. This will always cause problems for any voting body, when the old people ignore innovation for stuff that plays to their… age.
    It’s not a bad record, but it’s not Viva La Vida. Coldplay finally knock it out of the park, and they do not get the proper reward. It bes that way sometimes, but it has to stop beings this way. The kids will soon out number the old fogeys, and this will make things interesting.

  83. yancyskancy says:

    Yawn. There’s nothing you can say about the Grammys that haven’t been said probably every year since 1958.
    Raising Sand is a really fine album. It’s the only one of the nominees I own, so I can’t really compare. But the odds of any individual’s preferences being nominated or awarded are slim to none. And much great music goes unappreciated in its time, especially nowadays with the biz in such disarray. Same as it ever was.
    I got worked up about this kind of stuff all the time when I was 14. “How could the Grammys ignore insert-flavor-of-the-month/hip-edgy-groundbreaker/my idiosyncratic fave?” Settle down, Beavis.
    As for the age thing. Eh. Some warhorses keep knocking it out of the park, and today’s fresh flavor can be a flash-in-the-pan. But sure, the main factor is probably the average age of the voting body. Good luck getting Clive Davis to vote for, I dunno, Deerhoof or whoever.
    Kami: At least you don’t have to worry about Ray Charles or Luther Vandross winning more Grammys, unless it’s one of those posthumous legend things.

  84. IOIOIOI says:

    Deerhoof are awesome, and deserve Clive Davis’ love and admiration. Again; it’s not getting upset as much as it’s watching these award shows degenrate in front of my eyes.
    The Globes at least have the whole “PARTY BITCHES! PARTY!” atmosphere going on, and that may keep it on the air a bit longer than the others. However, really, what the fuck do the Grammy’s offer? The moment they picked Steely Dan over Radiohead. It was a “IT’S OVER JOHNNY! IT’S OVER” moment for me. Sort of like the Academy voting the Reader in over the Bat was that moment for me.
    I really see all of these older people taking down these award shows, because they will not evolve. It’s okay to like what you like. It’s just not okay to do it when the world is clearly changing around you. If you want to stay relevant and important. Do you not have to change your tune at some point? Do you not have to evolve?
    Heck. Mumbai winning the Oscar could be seen as an evolution, or it could be seen as the Academy playing to it’s POOR PORN wheelhouse. Whateverthecase; it’s weird to see all these award shows I grew up with, slowly lose their ratings and influence with the general public.
    Heck again. The biggest news from the Grammys will be Chris Brown beating up Rhianna. While hitting a woman makes any man doing it a special kind of asshole. You have to be downright fucking BENT to hit the girl Jay Z loves referring to as “HIS ARTIST.” It’s not like he does not have any clout in this business or anything.

  85. I didn’t meant that comment about the Grammys and Charles/Vandross to be insensitive, but that Herbie Hancock record that won Album of the Year a couple of years back that was just Joni Mitchel covers was hardly “Rockit”, ya know.
    Taking the Long Way was a phenomenal album, but I suspect that had more to do with giving Bush a collective middle finger than anything else. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb… I’m a fan, but U2 are hardly edgy.
    I have to go back to 1999 with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to find an Album of the Year winner that truly felt like the Grammy people weren’t voting for what would make the best story (The Dixie Chicks, Norah Jones) or out of sentiment. Of course there was Speakerboxxxx/The Love Below, but I find the former album seriously brought that record down.

  86. EOTW says:

    Um, Kami, you are aware that HH has done more than Rockit?
    And Raising Sand is a fine record.

  87. The Big Perm says:

    I read on AICN that Mickey Rourke was going to do a movie with Walter Hill. I wish the best for those two, since Hill is an awesome action director…he doesn’t need big effects OR shaky cam. Just good old fashioned shooting guys full of holes with hand cannons. Too bad his last few movies make me wonder if he’s lost it, and he’s been out of the game for awhile, but you never know.
    Still, why hasn’t Hill been working? Couldn’t he have directed Taken as well as anyone?

  88. yancyskancy says:

    Well, Walter Hill did have a big success with that AMC miniseries Broken Trail in 2006. It won 4 Emmys and Hill got the DGA award.

  89. The Big Perm says:

    I didn’t know he did that. Good for him, then. He always seemed to like Westerns.

  90. Joe Leydon says:

    Also: Wasn’t Walter Hill involved with Deadwood?

  91. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, looks like he was a producer of some kind and directed the pilot.
    I’ve never seen Deadwood but that sounds like a mistake. All I ever hear about how good it is. If I ever have spare time I’ll have to check it out.

  92. LexG says:

    Hill’s first ten or fifteen years pretty much run parallel to Carpenter’s, chronologically, auteurist-wise, and in terms of general awesomeness. Actually, I’d throw Landis in there, too… They all had their A-game going from mid-70s to mid-to-late-80s… just a great run of films from all three, three distinctive visions and superb craftsmanship.
    Interesting that they all sort of wound down at exactly the same time and have worked so sporadically and usually in TV since.
    Wish one or all of them would have a nice late-career second win (Dante, too).

  93. EOTW says:

    I do believe that Hill directed the pilot for DEADWOOD. A good fit and such a waste that show was. Great the first 2 seasons and then screwed on the last one.
    Playing 2008 catch up. Caught RGM (see previous posts that pissed DP off!) yesterday afternoon and checked out NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH lastn ight. where the hell did Farmiga’s nom go to? She was great in this (as she seems to be in everything), even liked Alan Alda, but the ending left me cold and I found KB to be boring as fuck, as usual for me.
    Watched W. this afternoon. I have to admit, Brolin did some work there. There are moments where I kinda forgot it wasn’t really W himself. He is that convincing for long stretches of the flick. Someone said Christian Bale was offered the role first? Glad he passed, if it is true.

  94. The Big Perm says:

    Way too many shows are like that…start off strong and then fuck up. Like…a lot of stuff Joss Whedon’s ever done. In a way I’m glad Firefly got shitcanned because I’m sure by season 5 it would have been horrible. Buffy was, and Angel was on the way.
    It sems like Landis lost his talent or just didn’t have the scripts that worked anymore, while Hill tried to overreach and the material didn’t work for him, and Carpenter just stopped caring.
    If I could have any of them back, I think I’d like to see Carpneter make a return…because while there’s good action stuff being done, but who’s making great, distinctive horror movies right now?

  95. leahnz says:

    ‘Carpenter just stopped caring’
    how do you know that, perm, did you and the carp have a chat?

  96. LexG says:

    Leah, I kinda know exactly what he means; It’s how I’d describe it too. The guy’s still darkly funny and sharp as a tack in interviews and commentaries, and a filmmaking IDOL of mine, but his trademark cynicism seems to have evolved into full-on apathy.
    It’s there in little shrugging comments he’ll make about both his career and the business, on up to the filmmaking of his more recent efforts– haphazard comopositions, clunky framing (from a former widescreen master but who now just kinda crams everyone into frame in long shot), arbitrary dissolves that can only seem to suggest not enough coverage was shot.
    And just being kinda cavalier about taking the check for letting others remake his beloved early properties.
    I don’t really hold any of that against him– It’s actually kinda awesome in a way and definitely an extension of his filmic sensibility and public persona, and it’s not like he has anything to prove… but it IS a little disspiriting. But as others have noted, Carpenter is definitely a very old-school director (like Hill) in the Hawks and Peckinpah mold, and even if he were still prolific, it probably wouldn’t be the kind of stuff that still resonates with the masses.

  97. The Big Perm says:

    How can you watch Ghosts of Mars and think that he gave a shit?
    And he’s been pretty straightforward in interviews that he’s so burnt out and he doesn’t care about horrible remakes made from his movies as long as he gets paid.
    And he confided more to me in bed, but that’s not for public consumption.

  98. leahnz says:

    well, i see what you guys are saying, but i think you put too much emphasis on dvd commentaries and interviews as actual insight into someone’s mind. interviews/commentaries are contrived and set-up with a certain agenda, often to present a certain viewpoint or subject matter. people talk all kinds of shit when they are being interviewed, it’s not like the have to be completely honest and frank; they often say what they think should be said or what sounds badass or what someone wants them to say for what ever reasons, and most interviews and commentaries are then edited to present a certain viewpoint or exaggerated an aspect of commentary.
    also, cynicism (or apathy) and burn-out don’t necessarily mean you don’t care; on the contrary, many people become cynical and burnt-out because they care so much, it becomes exhausting and disheartening to fight for and stay true to what you believe in. one can still care deeply for one’s craft and still become bitter and do mediocre work.
    i don’t know if carpenter just doesn’t give a shit anymore – maybe that’s true – but i don’t think anybody except those who actually deal with him knows the answer to that. (and i’m not sure ‘ghosts of mars’ is a valid example of ‘not caring’, perm; not all carpenter’s films have been masterpieces – he’s had a slow decline, as do many film-makers – and creating a film that’s a bit shit may have all to do with elements just not coming together or serendipity or misjudgment/management or just losing one’s mojo and nothing to do with really not caring. that’s a big call)

  99. leahnz says:

    ‘or exaggerate a certain aspect of the commentary’. don’t know what happened there.
    (god, i do prattle on sometimes)

  100. jeffmcm says:

    If Ghosts of Mars represents Carpenter ‘not caring’, then his ‘not caring’ is a whole lot better than a lot of other filmmakers’ passion projects.

  101. Joe Leydon says:

    Gee, you think the fact that John Landis was at the very least partly responsible for the deaths of three people, but managed to skate away from any and all responsibility, might have, you know, made him less than a hot propety?

  102. leahnz says:

    to further self-correct, technically ‘apathy’ does mean that you don’t care, duh on me. i suppose i meant ‘perceived apathy’

  103. leahnz says:

    i posted the same time as joe but yes, that horrible ‘twilight zone’ tragedy must have hurt landis a great deal. how does one ever really move past something like that?

  104. jeffmcm says:

    I’m sure the Twilight Zone deaths made Landis unpopular and unemployable in many circles, but he still had hits (Coming to America) until his triple early-90s flops of Oscar, Innocent Blood, and Beverly Hills Cop III.
    TZ didn’t kill his career, but it probably prevented him from ever having a comeback.

  105. yancyskancy says:

    FWIW, I saw a Carpenter project announced in the trades within the last couple of weeks. It had a quote from him about digging the script or story or whatever. Maybe he’s getting the fire back.

  106. jeffmcm says:

    A friend of mine is interviewing to maybe work on it – I’ll report back on his perceived level of caring.

  107. The Big Perm says:

    If Landis had kept cranking out hits, TZ wouldn’t have meant anything. He was making a movie a year after that debacle.
    And sorry, if you told me Paul W.S. Anderson had directed Ghosts of Mars, I would have believed you. That movie was dull as dirt, and something like Vampires even skipped the climax. Why shoot the big shootout ending when 20 seconds of slo-mo dissolves can be five times more boring?
    And I know that using actual things people have said is crazy and all, but what can I tell you? Carpenter should stop saying shit like that then!

  108. leahnz says:

    ‘I’ll report back on his perceived level of caring.’
    lol, jeff
    ‘And I know that using actual things people have said is crazy and all, but what can I tell you? Carpenter should stop saying shit like that then!’
    saying shit like what? if carpenter told you he just does not care about making movies any more, then you’re sweet, perm. if he says he’s burnt out and doesn’t give a crap if people remake his movies in some interview? you’re making an assumption and a leap based on some edited piece of someone else’s material and then proclaiming rather boldly that ‘carpenter just stopped caring’ and ‘he doesn’t give shit’.

  109. The Big Perm says:

    Do you know him? Did he tell you he acually cares? Otherwise you’re the one making assumptions. At least I’m going by what he’s said on record…maybe edited, maybe reworded…I can’t tell you that, sorry. But you’re essentially just making your own assumption not based on anything, so who’s more right?
    ps, it’s me.

  110. jeffmcm says:

    I’m not going to defend Vampires or Village of the Damned or Memoirs of an Invisible Man, but Ghosts of Mars was fun.

  111. jeffmcm says:

    Marketing is funny – earlier I was watching The Daily Show/Colbert and a bunch of ads for the DVD release of W. came up, featuring the same satiric gags as were in all of the trailers/commercials from the theatrical release.
    Then I change over to the Military Channel and they’re running similar ads for W. – except now with stirring, inspirational music and unironic bits of dialogue from Josh Brolin like “People want freedom!”
    I didn’t notice if either ad included Oscar-whoring.

  112. yancyskancy says:

    I liked Memoirs of an Invisible Man, though it’s been too long since I’ve seen it to mount any kind of a defense. Didn’t like Ghosts of Mars at all. Didn’t Siskel and/or Ebert love Vampires?
    I spent several of my formative years in Carpenter’s hometown, Bowling Green, KY, so I’ve always had a soft spot for him as sort of a native son. Plus he landed Adrienne Barbeau back in the day. And oh yeah, he makes damn fine films.

  113. leahnz says:

    nah, perm, you’re being an arrogant git proclaiming that ‘carpenter doesn’t care anymore!’ as if you know the guy or have some inside line on him, just so you can’t sound like you know shit. but by your own admission, this is based on an INTERVIEW you saw somewhere in which carpenter says he’s burnt out (which doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about his movies anymore), and doesn’t care IF HIS MOVIES ARE REMADE because it’s a sweet paycheck (which doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about his movies anymore). so who’s just making stuff up?

  114. LexG says:


  115. movieman says:

    You definitely need to check out “Deadwood,” Perm. My only complaint about the third season was that it ended without any real sense of closure, probably because the producers were expecting to wrap things up at a later date in a series of stand-alone films. Unfortunately, HBO reneged on their deal and pulled the plug.
    On a not-terribly-related front, I actually kind of dig “Oscar” (always thought it was terribly underrated), and “Into the Night” still strikes me as Landis’ masterpiece: his most personal film, and–if you’re looking for it–his mea culpa for the “Twilight Zone” tragedy.

  116. The Big Perm says:

    InterviewSSSSSSSSS (plural), leahnz. How many times doe s aguy gotta say somethignbefore you believe it? And besides, it’s not liek he’s saying that stuff and his work betrays those words…they seem lazy and disjointed. To me, they looked lazy even before I’d read what he had to say. He’s admitted to making movies purely for the money before (Invisible Man, Christine). Maybe he’s just doing that now and going through the motions. I’m not saying for 100% absolute for the fact that’s what’s happening, just that’s what it seems like. Sorry.
    You can defend him, and why not…he had an amazing run, and if he weren’t making horror movies would be talked about like John Ford. Seriously. But he’s out of steam now. But if he manages to rally himself and make a comeback, I’ll be first to see it.
    You know movieman, hearing that about Deadwood would probably keep me from watching it (as if I had time anyway). I hate it when shows don’t get closed properly. At least Firefly had the movie to hurredly wrap things up.

  117. christian says:

    I love worship Carpenter and I would kill to see him get excited about something and deliver.

  118. leahnz says:

    well that was reasonable, perm, no comments about sex with my mother (or father in my case i guess) so good on ya.
    the rather specific point i was trying to make yesterday, perhaps poorly, that you just don’t seem to get is that carpenter admitting that he’s burnt-out or cynical or making flicks/selling the rights to his flicks for money in interviewSSSS is not the same thing as him saying he has ‘stopped caring’; had he come out and said, ‘you know, i just don’t care anymore’, well ok, you can make that proclamation. but you are putting words in the man’s mouth because he appears bummed out with his career and his work/output has suffered in recent years, and it sounds arrogant on your part.
    even film-makers with the most passion, creativity and originality lose that red-hot spark over time and begin to fade, it’s just nature’s way – perhaps to make way for the young turks – but to proclaim an artist doesn’t care any more about his/her work is about the most insulting thing you can say about someone in my book, so that’s what got me riled up and persnickety. you could have said, ‘carpenter is burned-out’ or cynical or whatever, but to say he’s ‘stopped caring’, forsooth! (i, too, hope he gets his second wind and blows us away again. ‘batman: the freaks’, 2010. go john 😉 )

  119. The Big Perm says:

    I would NEVER have sex with anyone’s parent on this blog except for IO’s mother…she’s a jealous bitch!
    I think in a certain way, if you’re burned out and lose your spark but keep making movies, in some sense that means you don’t care…you know you’re not doing your best work. Shit, I’ve been there. I did stuff that while I technically “cared” about, and wanted to make as good as I could…but I wasn’t super passionate about and in the end, took the gig because I didn’t have anything better going on at the time.
    At least we can all agree that Michael Caine did not care when he took on the role of Hoagie the tugboat captain in Jaws: The Revenge.

  120. leahnz says:

    ok, agreed on cain, who probably stepped off the plane from the bahamas (or wherever ‘revenge’ was filmed) and cackled gleefully all the way to the bank to deposit his paycheck

  121. IOIOIOI says:

    Honey Wilder’s Pussy is real chatty (figuratively). Seriously; how does a hairy afrobush type? I am thinking… chicken-pecking. If you get what I am stating.
    Seriously Honey Wilder’s Pussy… you really need to shave that shit down. I doubt your man has as much fun as you do while you are involved in a George Lazenby because of all of that fucking hair. Trim that shit down, put some Soul-Glo on yourself, and pray your man is a fan of the GERI! You big sloppy fucking pussy.

  122. Cadavra says:

    Carpenter lost interest on GHOSTS because the studio forced him to take Ice Cube as the lead and then sold it as an urban film, even though the rest of the cast (save Pam Grier) was white.

  123. The Big Perm says:

    Wow, it actually took me a minute to figure out IO was trying to insult me. Way to be pathetic and lame there, tiger!
    Did the studio really force Ice Cube on Carpenter? Weird. I really like him, but he doesn’t come off like a tough guy to me. I thought that was one of the problems of the movie. Carpenter needed a more iconic tough guy in that role, but Cube just doesn’t work that way.

  124. leahnz says:

    sorry, cainE
    that’s interesting, cadavra, damn studio interference all to hell

  125. IOIOIOI says:

    Three words to describe a chubber queen with an afro from here to infamy.
    You are such a dum-dum, but I am sure your man likes a dum-dum. It makes for fun times when you two are trying a Jerry Lafferty on each others lower extremities.

  126. The Big Perm says:

    Now I just feel sad for you.

  127. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I strongly suspect Michael Caine had SOME regrets about making Jaws: The Revenge. While he was off on location for that one, he couldn’t attend the Oscar ceremonies the year he won his first Academy Award (for Hannah and Her Sisters).

  128. Lota says:

    I hope Carpenter is getting his fire back.
    I loved the horror, and just loved that Lee van Cleef and Donald Pleasence (as the President no less) were in Escape from NY. Snake Plissken, where were ye? Shouldn’t have let Adrienne Barbeau take the bullet and speeding car, Snake. Her rack deserved better.
    Big YES to Deadwood, but wasn’t closed properly, indeed. Neither was Carnivale…boo hoo.

  129. leahnz says:

    ditto that ‘carnivale’ sentiment, lota, it deserved better

  130. frankbooth says:

    I actually think that Lex’s last post about Carpenter was dead-on. And what Perm said, too.
    You can just feel the tiredness coming off him in the commentaries and interviews and the work itself. It’s like one big extended sigh. I’m one of those guys who went nuts for Halloween and loved Escape, caught up with Dark Star and AP13 on video, defended The Fog and Big Trouble and The Thing when those movies were considered failures or disappointments — and then slowly felt my enthusiasm leak away as I liked less and less of each subsequent movie, starting with Prince of Darkness.
    Must be very similar to the way Shyamalan fans have felt through the last decade. Okay, ONE more chance…this one will be the return to the good stuff…please?
    (If only we could put Lex into a telepod and beam him into two other telepods and do a reverse Brundlefly on him to separate the bad half from the good one. Okay, the bad eighty percent from the good twenty.)

  131. leahnz says:

    thinking a lot about carpenter lately, i might be out of my mind and open myself up to ridicule doing this, but i don’t actually think his output over recent years is as tired and clunky as people are making out, so i’m going to mount a little defence:
    carpenter’s films after ‘starman’ and ‘big trouble’ have lost their luster to varying degrees – it’s been up and down, hit and miss, with no hard-out classics like ‘the thing’ but some decent flicks and a few stinkers and mediocrities thrown in for good measure, like most directors – but hardly dire.
    ‘prince of darkness’ is a rather unique, lovecraftian good vs. evil doomfest; ‘they live’: an absolute hoot; ‘invisible man’ is just…bizarre – i don’t even know what to say about that thing but ‘failed experiment’ comes to mind and yancy quite likes it so there’s that; ‘in the mouth of madness’ is another enjoyable apocalyptic vision, garish and gruesome with a gleefully manic perf from sam neill; ‘village of the damned’ is a mediocrity (i can’t actually remember a single thing about it, so); ‘escape from LA’ reunites us with our long-lost smart-ass mate plissken – not a patch on the original classic ‘new york’ and far cheesier, yet still energetic, cheeky satire with a degree of trademark panache and some decent set action pieces and russel in good form…which brings us to the final 2: ‘vampires’, which i detest, and ‘ghosts of mars’, ill-conceived and misguided but hardly unwatchable or an abomination to nature (if i’ve forgotten any, my bad).
    so while carpenter’s last two films are arguably the worst of the lot, it’s not all doom and gloom. one of carpenter’s recent ‘masters of horror’ tv shows (i can’t remember the title but norman reedus plays the owner of a cinema hired to track down an old print that drives people insane when they watch it) is a nice return to form – well-conceived and shot, macabre and intense. he has made very few films in recent years, and that’s likely a good thing if he’s burnt-out; it’s not like he’s cranking out mindless crap year after year, and i think his downfall has been exaggerated. he hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire of late and i, too, can see and feel the creakiness in his bones and the weariness on his face, but i would argue the carp’s loss of mojo has been blown out of proportion and there’s life in the ol’ pecker yet. (even if he quit tomorrow, the second half of his career might not be as sterling as the first but it’s nothing to sneeze at or be ashamed of.)
    everyone’s probably carpenter’d-out, but i had to unburden that from my soul.
    (and i still think nothing good can come of pouring over a bunch of dvd commentaries and interviews, sometimes familiarity breeds contempt, or at the very least, over analysing)

  132. christian says:

    I would say that even when a Carpenter film doesn’t meet expectations, there’s always one or two fantastic moments. Like Sam Neill standing before a wall of his tattered words from IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS or the beyond creepy video image from PRINCE OF DARKNESS and even ESCAPE FROM LA works much better if you watch it as straight up satire.

  133. leahnz says:

    ‘I would say that even when a Carpenter film doesn’t meet expectations…’
    that sums it up in a way. when you set the bar high early on in your career, fans and critics expect a great deal, and when a director fails to deliver that same magic year in/year out, scorn often follows.
    and yet other modern auteurs with commercial careers have suffered a similar fate to carpenter, in regards to losing much of their sparkle after brilliant early work. thinking of some names off the top of my head: ridley scott has directed one mediocrity after another since ‘thelma & louise’ with a few bright spots (matchstick men) and a few real stinkers thrown it; oliver stone has been middling for quite some time now (as has spielberg, perhaps to a lesser degree) and tarentino hasn’t really brought it since ‘jackie brown’; perhaps even woody allen applies here, with an unparalleled stretch of mediocrity and stinkers during the ’90/00’s with a few bright spots here and there, only recently snapping out of it with ‘vicki’ and ‘match point’ (but then there was ‘scoop’ in between, yikes).
    and yet i can hear a chorus of ‘but you can’t compare those directors to carpenter!’ as dictated by the deeply institutionalised snobbishness of the film world, according to which the former are considered ‘serious’ film-makers (well maybe not tarantino as much as the others), while carpenter is considered a denizen of the action/horror genre. so those ‘serious’ directors get a softer ride, limping along, their mediocrities, failings and diminishing returns grudgingly tolerated in hopes that one day they will get their mojo back and kick serious ass again (as woody may have done). yet when carpenter drops the ball, he’s far more easily dismissed and relegated to the ‘has-been’ bin, even though carpenter’s best work is every bit as skilled in its way and entertaining as the best of scott and stone and tarantino, etc., and his worst isn’t much worse (i’d rather sit through ‘vampires’ again than ‘a good year’ or ‘the lost world’ or ‘scoop’ or whatever, i could go on and on).
    it must be exhausting to be judged by ‘genre’ standards, likely having to fight harder for $, talented actors/crew, and creative control in order to produce a product with integrity; hell, maybe that’s part of the reason why carpenter burnt-out. (ok, probably just babbling to myself now, whatever)
    ‘ESCAPE FROM LA works much better if you watch it as straight up satire’.
    is there any other way to view ‘escape from LA’? 😉

  134. The Big Perm says:

    I would take any of those directors over Carpenter though…at least their movies have some spark of life to them, while Carpenter is just banal and totally dull. Look, I hated hated HATED Death Proof. I can’t believe I watched it from beginning to end. BUT, I would still say that Tarantino seemed engaged by his material and was trying things and still delivered a movie that had some style and a pulse, while I would not say the same of Carpenter’s movies after Mouth of Madness. And a number of his movies before that one either.
    I think you could have given Tarantino or any of those other directors the same Ghosts of Mars script and told them to direct it, and it would have been a much better movie.
    Carpneter’s Masters of Horror could have been directed by any tv hack. And the reveal of the angel in the first ten minutes…which of course is a script problem but Carpenter should have stomped on it…was awful. Way to spoil the mystery and intrigue right after the opening credits!

  135. leahnz says:

    first of all, i’m sorta laughing/cringing at myself for that rambling comment i wrote late last night, let that be a lesson never to mix alcohol and pain killers! (seriously; i had a root canal, then a couple beers at night and blogged, bad leah. i’ll have to check for more ramblings elsewhere, oh dear) i slept well, tho.
    anyhoo, perm, i won’t bother to defend all my sentiments because i was obviously exaggerating to make my point in a drug-addled doolally, beyond the fact that i believe other great directors have made like carpenter and lost their mojo over the years, and yet still churn out mediocrity after mediocrity and nobody seems to notice.
    and i think you’re way overstating it when you claim carpenter’s movies after ‘mouth of madness’ don’t have a pulse; you may not like ‘escape from la’ but it has some carpenter flair running under the hood; you many not like ‘vampires’ (and neither do i) but it’s stark, nasty and decently shot, and james woods has some fun with it; you may not like ‘ghosts of mars’ but i give carpenter credit for essentially setting a western on mars with zombies and ghostly possession and ott violence, quite a cocktail; it doesn’t really work but it’s told with carpenter’s particular sensibility, not nearly as horrid you’re making out. they may not be good movies but they are not dead in the water, i think you’re exaggerating to make your point.
    also, i don’t agree that scott or tarentino or stone would have necessarily made a better ‘ghosts of mars’ with the same script; scott’s once clear and unique voice and vision has grown pedestrian and dull, he’s lost it as far as i’m concerned; if you want a dull, by the numbers ‘ghosts’, he’s your man; same for oliver stone, who used to revel in his own ‘hard-case-balls-to-the-wall’ness and go hard-out, but now he shies away from the very thing that made him different, bland bland bland (haven’t seen ‘w’); and i don’t know what’s going on with tarantino but if anything he’s TOO keen on his silly-ass self.
    and finally, i totally disagree about your assessment of carpenter’s ‘masters of horror’ piece, i think it’s very well done and i know a few other people who think likewise, so i’m not insane (or at least, not about that).
    so, i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about a great many things.

  136. The Big Perm says:

    I would disagree however, that Oliver Stone doesn’t get a lot of crap throw his way for being out of touch as well. Not Scott, because geeks seem to love him…I thin he’s still making good movies though. Not always great, but generally at least good.
    But I will give you Escape From LA…for some reason I thought he made that before Mouth of Madness. Wish he’d had some ideas other than just making the same movie as the first but as a comedy and having a boring villain…but it was still fun.
    Also, stark, nasty and decently shot could describe the Texas Chainsaw remake or Saw 5.

  137. leahnz says:

    ‘Also, stark, nasty and decently shot could describe the Texas Chainsaw remake or Saw 5.’
    i didn’t see ‘saw 5’, hell no (there’s a 5?), and the ‘texas chainsaw’ remake isn’t my cup of tea – probably because it never should have been made, the original being a hard-out badass hold-your-breath horror classic for the ages and i have a grudge against it for that reason – but it seems to have its fans here who dig it (can’t remember who tho, kam and lex maybe? sorry if that’s wrong), so…i don’t know exactly what the point of my comment is but there you go, the ‘chainsaw’ remake is arguably better than ‘vampires’

  138. Martin S says:

    Carpenter went through the ringer for a number of years, but tried to keep projects going. It wasn’t until Debra Hill tragically died that he really seemed to drift away.
    IMO, I don’t think he liked the constrictions of television so he opted for semi-retirement. He could have easily become a high-caliber television director like Hill, Brad Anderson or John McNaughton. McWeeney could answer this better than almost anyone.

  139. leahnz says:

    thanks for sharing that about carpenter and debra hill, martin s, they obviously remained close over the years. very sad indeed.

  140. jeffmcm says:

    I saw Saw 1-4. 1 was shot in a way that could be described as ‘mediocre’, 2-4 were increasingly sub-par to the level of crappy. Therefore, no Saw movie has ever been ‘decently-shot’ unless Saw 5 was somehow a step up – which I really doubt.
    And ‘stark’? No. Too phony to be ‘stark’.

  141. The Big Perm says:

    What I’m saying leahnz, is that decently shot doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a good movie or good directing…maybe a good DP. So that using “well shot” to support Carpenter via Vampires doesn’t mean anything.
    Come on Jeff, Saw was shot well enough. I’d put it above mediocre. The movie was shit, but it looked good.
    I’m also not really sure is Ridley Scott ever had a clear and distinct voice. Stone did but sort of seemed to lose it, and Tarantino still does (to my diminishing returns, it seems) but I don’t know if Scott was ever a whole lot more than a relatively classical director making good movies that are expertly shot. He’s still doing now what he did back in the day.

  142. LexG says:

    Wanted to point out that STARMAN is excellent; Memoirs I guess was sort of a paycheck gig, but at the time I had hoped JC would bring some of the same breezy romantic comedy and surprisingly deep emotion to Memoirs as he did to Starman. Wasn’t the Chevy film originally a pretty well-regarded novel? And I think Chevy’s quite good in the movie… I remember him being very proud of it and his work in it (and rightfully so). And Sam Neill is EXCELLENT.
    I watch that one a lot and enjoy bits and pieces of it, but it’s not really a satisfying whole, doesn’t really have Carpenter’s look, and some of it’s strangely maudlin and dreary. But the parts that do work are quite good (if anonymous.)

  143. leahnz says:

    ‘…Ridley Scott ever had a clear and distinct voice’
    ‘don’t know if Scott was ever a whole lot more than a relatively classical director making good movies that are expertly shot. He’s still doing now what he did back in the day’
    oh poop on a stick, perm! i’ll keep this brief, but for example: if you can honestly say that ‘a good year’ achieves anywhere near the level of heart, intimacy, beautiful photography or superb perfs of ‘thelma & louise’, or if ‘american gangster’ (which i have fallen asleep in TWICE now) is anything to rival the mood and panache of ‘someone to watch over me’ (or even ‘black rain’, a lesser work)…if you feel ‘body of lies’ or ‘kingdom of heaven’ or ‘gladiator’ have even a patch on the style, visual aesthetic and flair of ‘blade runner’… if you honestly think ‘hannibal’ even begins to capture the sense of menace or the level of tension achieved in ‘alien’, well, i don’t know what to say to that, man, i think your living in a dream world. i honestly don’t meant that in a cruel way, it’s just inexplicable to me, and i’d say you need to brush up on your early ridley. scott most certainly had a clear voice and vision, which has become muddied and pedestrian imho, so much so this his films are now merely middling and competent rather than bold and special (except for ‘matchstick men’, which i adore like there’s no tomorrow), and it really bums me out.
    (that was quite a sweet, wistful tribute to ‘invisible man’, lex)

  144. jeffmcm says:

    OK, Perm, I’d say Saw I was above-average-shot, and then each succeeding movie (2,3,4) got progressively worse. Which means that I attribute the first movie’s look more to James Wan, who has no idea what to do with actors but good taste in cinematography and knows somewhat how to move the camera.
    I think one difference between ‘old Ridley’ and ‘modern Ridley’ is that the guy who made Alien/Blade Runner/Legend was a hungry and relatively young filmmaker out to conquer the world, and the guy who made American Gangster/Body of Lies is settled-in and a little worn-out, and maybe just trying to squeeze out an Oscar win.
    (My modern-period Ridley fave, though, is Hannibal, which I think is intending to be less ‘scary and suspenseful’ and more ‘grotesque’, and at that goal I think it succeeds quite well.)

  145. leahnz says:

    ‘…a little worn-out, and maybe just trying to squeeze out an Oscar win.’
    more like a lot worn out! 😉
    ‘So that using “well shot” to support Carpenter via Vampires doesn’t mean anything.’
    perm: well, yes it does, really, because a movie being well shot is one of the contributing factors to the overall quality of said film…and film photography is a collaboration between director & DoP, unless the director is a clueless dumbfuck, which i don’t think could apply to carpenter under any circumstance.

  146. The Big Perm says:

    American Gangster is a helluva lot better than Black Rain…which I love in how it’s shot, but everything else about it is straight ahead medicority.
    I think Scott has always been interested in story, first and foremost. And I think we can’t say he’s in a decline now, because his mid period was pretty shaky too…anyone remeber White Squall or 1492? And you can trace the path from The Duellists (my favorite of his) to Gladiator. And can you really bring up a medicroty like Black Rain and then dismiss Hannibal, which is a better movie overall?
    And I’d say that yes, Gladiator has even a patch on the style, visual aesthetic and flair of Blade Runner. At the very least, it stacks up with Legend, made a few years later.
    I’d guess that you grew up with those early Scott movies so you’re more inclined to give them a nostalgic pass…I may be wrong here, so if so, you can call me on it.

  147. christian says:

    The problem with INVISIBLE MAN was the novel was ostensibly a satire about a self-absorbed yuppie and the film just became an action adventure. Plus, it was clear they couldn’t figure out how to keep the star visible enough so there are scenes where he’s supposed to be invisible, but we see him and then other times not. It is Chase’s best performance in a rather melancholy film. And a great Laurie Johnson score.

  148. leahnz says:

    well, the fact you think ‘gladiator’ holds a candle to ‘blade runner’ says it all, perm!
    ‘And can you really bring up a medicroty like Black Rain and then dismiss Hannibal, which is a better movie overall?’
    i can and i did. i think ‘hannibal’ is as flat as a coke left out on a summer day (sorry jeff), who would have thought scott could make clarice starling and hannibal lecter so dull, aimless, poorly paced and un-gripping (not a word, i know); at least ‘black rain’, which i mentioned as a lesser work, has some cheek, some energy, some chemistry in the leads, some urgency, despite not being a very good movie, that’s true.
    you claim ‘black rain’ is a mediocrity and hannibal is ‘a better movie overall’, but a quick look at the rotten tomatoes tomatometer critics ratings (which i don’t think of as biblical but it has its broad uses) rates ‘hannibal’ at a lowly 38% and black rain at 57%, so while ‘black rain’ may not be a ridley classic for the ages, clearly i’m not the only one who thinks less of ‘hannibal’.
    ‘And I think we can’t say he’s in a decline now, because his mid period was pretty shaky too…anyone remeber White Squall or 1492?’
    i never said ridley’s in a decline now, i said it’s been downhill since ‘t&l’, so you agree with me? (for the record, i actually like ‘white squall’)
    ‘I’d guess that you grew up with those early Scott movies so you’re more inclined to give them a nostalgic pass…I may be wrong here, so if so, you can call me on it.’
    again, it’s not just me, perm. i went ahunting on rotten tomatoes (this is the first and last time i do that, hell in a hand-basket what a pain, but it’s ok i don’t mind the distraction at the mo) and as per critics approval ratings for ridley’s early work:
    ‘alien’-97%; ‘watch over me’-83%; ‘blade runner’-93%; ‘t&l’-90% (‘black rain’ and ‘legend’ are both in the 50th percentile so he had his foibles even back then, certainly). if you weed out those two anomalies, excellent critical ratings, couldn’t be much better.
    post ‘thelma and louise’ period:
    approval ratings ranging from 38% for ‘hannibal’ and 39% for ‘kingdom of heaven’ to nothing higher than 79% for ‘american gangster’, which was lucky to get that from the reviews i quickly perused. (some sampling: ‘1492’-47%, ‘gladiator’-77%, ‘body of lies’-51%) very poor to fairly-good ratings, far from the acclaim of his earlier work.
    so you tell me, perm, is my assertion that ridley scott has been in decline since ‘t&l’ all in my geriatric head? it would appear there is a general critical consensus to back me up.

  149. The Big Perm says:

    Blade Runner is a better movie, but it’s not like suddenly Scott makes Gladiator and it has no style and looks cheap. So yeah, it holds a candle. It doesn’t look like a Brett Ratner movie.
    Who cares about what Rotten Tomatoes says? That’s the weakest argument you can bring. Without even looking at it, I’m going to bet I can tell you the problem with your reasoning. I’m going out on a limb here because like I said, I’m not going to consult it so if you want some great potential ammo to throw back at me, here it comes. But I’m betting American Gangster has many many more reviews than Blade Runner and Alien do, as they’re more recent movies. And thus, more second and third stringers who may be able to write, and may not…it’s the internet, just about anyone can have their site listed with RT. If Blade Runner has a review, it’s possibly a retrospective piece by someone already into the movie so of course it’s going to have a higher grade. People grew up with Blade Runner and Alien, and because of the age and genre they fall into, that makes themseminal movies, especially for internet writers who tend to skew more for genre works. So of COURSE those movies would have higher grades.
    By the way, and maybe someone older here can tell us…wasn’t Blade Runner shit on when it was originally released? The same arguments leahnz uses against his recent movies, that it was dull and lifeless and poorly paced and Harrison Ford was a bore? I’d say Scott hasn’t changed at all.

  150. Lota says:

    Alien, Blade Runner and Legend had a clear, iconic voice of near human darkness, science fantasy. The voice of doom. Powerful. Must be cuz he’s from Durham area, humanity is doomed indeed.
    Most people don;t rate Legend very highly but I do for a graphic novel style fantasy–it was amazing and creepy and Tim Curry was the most amazing prince of Darkness ever. Tom Cruise was the weakest thing in it (what a shock) but still useful enough as sterile boy warrior. The Tangerine Dream soundtrack fit the movie (USA); the classical soundtrack ruined the movie in Europe.
    The rest of R. Scott’s films, good looking but cacophany. No voice.
    He is the most capable alive, yet…he abdicated from having a voice, hope he gets it back again–he has the right stuff which is more than can be said for Tony.

  151. LexG says:

    Where is he in life? Okay, now where are you? FAIL = YOU, with your old ass.

  152. Lota says:

    Just because you relish in being a drunk and failure with ‘Hollywood’ and women Lex, by your own words, is a dumb reason to go labeling others as nobodies. Ad a foolish one–do you think anyone on here would ever recommend you for a job ?(not many, but some on here might have the power to do that).
    Where is Tom Cruise in life right now? I would bet that I am happier than he is.
    I just got a nice chunk of money for a project, so I’ve been doing something with myself. You won;t get anywhere except rehab, and then you’d get kicked out for bothering other people.

  153. Martin S says:

    I’ve always seen it as the case of Two Ridleys; Opera Ridley and Tony’s Brother. A movie like Black Rain could have been made by either, but Tony’s Brother won out. I love that movie, (IMO Sato is one of the most underrated 80’s villains because he doesn’t have Han Gruberish lines), and you can see traces of Opera Ridley during some of the Japan sequences, but in the end it’s simply the best movie Tony Scott could have ever made, pre-Man On Fire.
    I can’t stand Hannibal, but it’s not Ridley’s fault. The book was junk, too. I would’ve like to seen him remake Red Dragon from Dolarhyde’s perspective, FWIW.

  154. Lota says:

    Ha ha, MartinS. That is a good way to think about it! I love Black Rain *personally*, but I couldn’t help but think when first seeing it that it didn’t quite get there, I still keep a candle it for it however. Ridley has the potential for at least one more great masterpiece.
    Did you see Yusaku Matsuda (played Sato) in the Japanese version of Wuthering Heights? Total awesomeness. I cried when he died (39 yrs old), if he hadn’t died i think he would have been a big Japan/USA actor by now, only eclipsed by Kitano.

  155. The Big Perm says:

    Martin, you make a good point about Sato not being an uber villain in that 80s way. I do appreciate a good all business, ruthless villain who isn’t out to be cute and clever.
    I wish Scott had also directed Red Dragon. No one could have done much with Hannibal. But fucking Ratner, man…I don’t hate him and I don’t hate that movie, but with that cast and script and DP, how did he end up with something so bland and unmemorable? That should have ranked with Silence of the Lambs.

  156. Joe Leydon says:

    Around the time Black Rain was released, I interviewed Sydney Pollack during a junket for another movie. And I asked him: Hey, how did he feel about having so many things from his great movie The Yakuza turn up in Black Rain? He laughed — but he did not smile. And then he politely declined to answer.

  157. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, they really are the same movie…except the Yakuza was a lot better.

  158. christian says:

    The action scenes in THE YAKUZA are fantastic, beyond anything in the whole of BLACK RAIN.

  159. The Big Perm says:

    Hell yeah, the climax was awesome. The precision fo the sword vs the bludgeon of the shotgun was great. While the climax to Black Rain felt like an episode of Hunter with more smoky atmosphere.

  160. Martin S says:

    Lota – Matsuda’s death was sad. I don’t know if he could have made it big stateside, because the Chan express really didn’t kick in for several more years, but he most certainly would have ended up working with some of the great 90’s/00 J talent. I always think that Matsuda is what Shinya Tsukamoto is trying to recapture in roles like Body Hammer and Tokyo Fist.
    Red Dragon was doomed. Unless they totally revamped the structure it was never going to stand next to Manhunter. As outdated as that movie can appear, it was still the first thriller that had the audience find the clue with the protagonist, but not in some Hitchkockian revelation or foreshadowing. It was just some guy sitting in his hotel room, thinking and the whole damn time the answer is literally staring at him and you.
    IMO, there was a story to be told from Dolarhyde’s POV. What he saw himself as becoming, the Peeping Tom allusions, his connection to Lector. It could have been that Ridley Opera version of Henry:POASK.

  161. Lota says:

    I think he could been big, certainly bigger than most competing Asian actors…maybe working for Takeshi Kitano, and since Takeshi had his big accident in’95, and Matsuda could have filled the void as The Man.
    He also was tall and charismatic enough he’d be a different sort of animal than Jackie Chan (maybe not a direct competitor for the token Asian action hero or Asian comedian).
    He’d probably only get bad guy parts in the US. But then, had he lived he;d be stuck with alot of Yakuza pieces too in Japan, but at least good Yakuza pieces.
    I have never been able to see Manhunter again–the first time gave me enough nightmares for a lifetime.

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
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The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4