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David Poland

By David Poland

Remember When…

August 28, 2008

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41 Responses to “Remember When…”

  1. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    The DVD is coming out in a six week. Is this really necessary?

  2. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Necessary like you know, this is old news, and you dropping some NYAH NYAHs. The war is over, C’09, and the historians will always ask; “You remember that excellent film about the detective who dressed as a Bat?” “Yes I do.” “Well, really, why was it not recognized as the Best Picture?” “Oh I don’t know. Older folks like to dance with Indians?” “I say. What an interesting dissection on this topic.” “You are welcome Eric.” “No; you are welcomed John.” “Shall we go and get tacos?” “Yes. Let’s bounce.”

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    No, Curtis, you are wrong. Historians will point to the success of Slumdog Millionaire — with critics, with audiences, with Oscar voters — as reflective of a seismic shift in U.S. pop culture and sociopolitical attitudes. (To cite just its most obvious influence: Note how many more Bollywood movies get wide release in this country over the next 2-3 years.) The Dark Knight always will be remembered as a damn good popcorn movie, just as The Magnificent Seven always will be remembered as a great action flick. But you know what? “Magnificent Seven” got only one Oscar nomination — Best Original Score. (It lost.) That same year, The Apartment won the award for Best Picture. Which movie do you think more people remember? Which movie sums up its era better?

  4. Geoff says:

    Honestly, Curtis, I don’t know why you have to tear down Slumdog to praise The Dark Knight – I really loved both films, though I thought Slumdog was the better, tighter film. Sorry.
    Paint it any way you want, but Slumdog Millionaire is not your typical Best Picture winner – it will be remembered. Idisyncratic directors like Danny Boyle don’t typically get remembered by the Academy – it took another ten years of the Coen Brothers acquiring “respectability” before they got their due. You could kind of make the case that Jonathan Demme was such a filmmaker when he got awarded for Silence of the Lambs, but…..that film was a radical departure from his previous films. Slumdog was very much in the style of Boyle’s previous films.
    Honestly, you watch it and it just does not feel like an Oscar film – frenetic pacing, techno music, fractured narrative, non-white cast, etc. Really as unique a film within the Oscar pantheon as Dark Knight would have been, if it won.
    But you had said, it’s coming out on DVD in six weeks? Can’t wait, where you did you read about the release date?

  5. Joe Straat says:

    Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think he’s referring to WB and Fox actually teaming up to release a movie instead of being embroiled in a heated lawsuit over one.

  6. LYT says:

    “Magnificent Seven” got only one Oscar nomination — Best Original Score. (It lost.) That same year, The Apartment won the award for Best Picture. Which movie do you think more people remember?
    Magnificent Seven, actually.

  7. yancyskancy says:

    Suffice to say that both The Apartment and The Magnificent Seven are well remembered films. Short of some sort of worldwide survey, however, I don’t know that we can really determine which one has the edge.

  8. movielocke says:

    “Suffice to say that both The Apartment and The Magnificent Seven are well remembered films. Short of some sort of worldwide survey, however, I don’t know that we can really determine which one has the edge.”
    the Apartment ranked an average of 8.4 on imdb from around 28,000 users and overall their 88th most highly ranked film
    The Magificent Seven ranked an average of 7.8 on imdb from around 22,000 users and overall does not earn a position as one of the 250 most highly ranked films.
    Magnificent Seven, did, however, earn a lofty 9.7 from females under 18 (its strongest demographic) when you look at the voting details.

  9. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Joe: I have to agree with LYT on this one. The Apartment is a great film, but I doubt it has a Q rating higher than the Magnificent Seven. A western that has aged really well, and could be a father watching it with his kids sort of film. Which the Apartment is not.
    The thing that really bothers me about your post is: The Dark Knight is a POPCORN MOVIE? Really? You think it’s flimsy like Poland? Huh. I hate to disagree, but it’s way more in-depth than people you age seem to take it for it.
    That seems to be thing: age. You state; “as reflective of a seismic shift in U.S. pop culture and sociopolitical attitudes.” No; that would be 1985 or 86. The year Hip-Hop changed the world. You think acceptance for a black president just happened over night? Nah. It was hip-hop, MJ, Tiger, Will Smith, and so on.
    All Slumdog represents is one film, that I doubt will age well compared to a film like Milk. Let alone a film that ushered in a real seismic shift in film making last year. The Dark Knight and to some extent Iron Man, change things last year.
    So I eagerly await your review and Poland’s review of Watchmen. A film that apparently rocks like an angry god on a distant planet.

  10. Aladdin Sane says:

    Two weeks from now everyone will struggle to remember what won what. I am not disparaging the achievements of any film, but who cares? I like both and the fact that TDK wasn’t nominated doesn’t really enhance or take away from it’s awesomeness. So no more flogging a dead horse eh?

  11. SJRubinstein says:

    I actually think “The Apartment” does wonders to sum up its era. “The Magnificent Seven,” to me, is a fun movie to watch, but doesn’t hold a candle to “Seven Samurai” – a movie that gets more interesting with every viewing and, I feel, holds up significantly better and NOT as a museum piece. Dare I say, part of “Magnificent Seven’s” longevity comes from pure nostalgia for a big, popular studio event that made a big splash on the culture? Compare it to Sturges’ “Great Escape,” which came out a mere three years later, and it’s night and day (I feel).
    “The Apartment,” however, is just a whip smart piece of material and I can see it still taking audiences by surprise.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    Of course it’s a popcorn movie. Or as you yourself stated: an “excellent film about the detective who dressed as a Bat.” Sounds pretty dang popcorny to me.
    SJR: It does still take them by surprise. I’ve shown it to students, and have been pleasantly surprised. On the other hand, I have been very unpleasantly surprised by the resistance I face sometimes when I show Westerns of any sort. And don’t get me started on musicals.

  13. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Referring to it as a POPCORN MOVIE, disparages the film. Sorry, but it does. It’s a great crime drama. That’s what it is. Unlike the movie with the Indian kid who battles poverty.

  14. MarkVH says:

    The Apartment is my all-time favorite film, and one of the best, ballsiest choices ever made by the Academy for a Best Pic winner. The Magnificent Seven is strong, but I wouldn’t even rank it in the Top 10 all-time Westerns.
    And of course The Dark Knight is a popcorn movie, just as its (better) predecessor is. It’s an exceptionally good one, but Ledger’s performance is the only thing in it that really transcends the genre. And I’m 28. Does that make me too old to get it?

  15. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Mark: you citing the Apartment as your favourite all-time makes you too old. Sorry; we had a vote. You are going to have to go colosseum and face the lions. It’s unfortunate, but these things happens.
    That aside; would you characterize Silence of the Lambs as a popcorn movie? Probably not. Yet it features one of the more ridiculous moments in movie history with the whole “PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET.” It also features the goofiest character conceits ever with Lector. Whose about as terrifying as a rotary lawnmower and he even wears a mask. So as I see it: Silence of the Lambs is a lot more POPCORNY than the best crime drama in this century.
    Now you see what I did there? I used POPCORN to demean a film that does not need to be demeaned. Referring to a film that does not even resemble a popcorn film, destroys it’s predecessor with a pear of anguish, and features one of the greatest performance this side of anyone ever. Demeans the film.
    Dislike it all the live long day, but please do not compare it to something like the Mummy 3. That’s a popcorn film. If you think TDK is a popcorn film. Well, really, you might be interested in these fashionable glue on mutton chops. Available now at

  16. jeffmcm says:

    What is the ‘seismic shift in filmmaking’ that The Dark Knight represents, exactly? In terms of form and narrative, it’s not doing anything that a lot of other films haven’t done. Ben-Hur and Titanic didn’t represent ‘seismic shifts in filmmaking’ either
    And yes, it’s a popcorn film. I think it’s absolutely a better film in every way than Slumdog, but that’s how I see it.

  17. The Big Perm says:

    Silence of the Lambs is pretty much a popcorn movie too. “Popcorn” doesn’t have to mean “crappy movie that is poorly made.”
    Kind of like how “seismic shift in filmmaking” doesn’t have to mean “ripping off Michael Mann in every way, but with funnybook characters.” But in the TDK’s case, that’s exaactly what it means.

  18. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Jeff: if that’s how you feel, that’s how you feel.
    Permish: HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. yancyskancy says:

    movielocke: I wonder if all those young girls who ranked The Magnificent Seven highly thought they were voting for the short-lived TV series from the late ’90s. Women loved that thing — lots of dreamy guys in it or something. Maybe they retroactively discovered the film?

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Curtis: How is “popcorn movie” more demeaning than “excellent film about the detective who dressed as a bat”? Look, man, I’ll say it again: The Dark Knight is a popcorn movie. A great popcorn movie — like Die Hard and The Magnificent Seven are great popcorn movies, and Casablanca is one of the greatest popcorn movies ever made. If you think that’s a demeaning term, well, sorry, but that’s a YP, not a MP.
    Now if you want to argue that Dark Knight can be parsed for signs and meanings that reference the moods and mores of our time — well, I won’t argue that point with you, because you’re right. Of course popcorn movies — and all other pop-culture products that connect with large audiences — reflects the zeitgeist of their age. Pillow Talk can be parsed to see how it reflects attitudes about male-female relationships in the late 1950s. That doesn’t mean Pillow Talk is a great movie. But it’s part of the reason why it’s an entertaining one.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    You are right, Joe.
    “popcorn movie” doesn’t mean “bad” any more than “art film” means good, depending on the film of course.
    Still waiting for an answer re: “seismic shift”, IOI.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Perm: “Funnybook characters”? Geez, I haven’t heard comic books referred to as “funny books” since I was watching Huckleberry Hound on my black and white TV. Just how old are you, fella?

  23. The Big Perm says:

    I’m actually relatively young, Joe! I’ve never seen a black and white tv. I just like that term.
    Jeff, don’t hold your breath for that answer, man.

  24. The Big Perm says:

    And to reiterate Joe’s point, Die Hard is one of the greatest movies ever made, and it’s as popcorn as you can get.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    I’m old enough to have owned a b&w tv.

  26. The Big Perm says:

    You didn’t buy it in a store, did you? Did someone give it to you? I know they existed when I was younger, but no one had them except maybe the occasional grandmother who had one in her kitchen.

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I still have a couple of battery-operated B&W TVs — good things to have when you live in hurricane country. But, alas, when TV goes digital….

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Perm, it was an inheritance. I’ve been all-color since college.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    No word from Curtis. Did he have to go to school or something?

  30. Cadavra says:

    APARTMENT and MAG 7 is truly an apples-and-pork-chops comparison. (The latter also had the benefit of three sequels, a TV series, and of course Bernstein’s immortal theme, which was used for years on Marlboro commercials. Though it should be noted that APARTMENT’s theme hit #1 on the pop charts.) Let’s just say they’re both terrific pictures that still have tremendous impact and leave it at that.

  31. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Jeff and Joe: poppyfuckingcock. You do not label a film that you like as a POPCORN movie. Go back, reflect on that a minute, and realize the POPCORN label is a slight. It’s a slight to just about any film that receive that label. Are you going to label the Watchmen a POPCORN FILM? After all of what that movie lays out there?
    All I have to state is this: go back and think of the films you love and the films you dislike hate. I would would wager the films you dislike carry that term POPCORN with them a lot more than the ones you like. Even if you do not think it’s a slight. It’s a slight. You would not refer to Heat as popcorn film, but The Dark Knight? Really blog? Really?

  32. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, now you’re projecting.

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    Curtis: “You do not label a film that you like as a POPCORN movie… Even if you do not think it’s a slight. It’s a slight.” Once again — that’s YP, not MP. Just because you say it with conviction doesn’t mean shit to me.
    Look, if you’re gonna get your shorts in a bunch over nomenclature, I would like to point out that damn few people other than yourself would refer to The Dark Knight as a “crime drama.” An action-adventure? Sure. A comic-book fantasy? Perhaps. A world-class popcorn movie? Damn right. But crime drama? WTF? We’re not talking CSI: Gotham City here, sports fan.
    Oh, and BTW: Please don’t bother to drop Heat on me as some kind of great movie that should fill me with shock and awe. Michael Mann did better with episodes of Crime Story. Not Crime Drama, mind you, but Crime Story.

  34. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Joe: you really like to think that you know more about pop-culture than I do. How cute. I just dropped Heat to tie into what Perm stated. That’s the reason. It’s called a “call-back.” This has been your lesson for the day.
    I also will state that it’s not my problem. It’s your problem. If you are honest.
    If you are being honest, then we will simply disagree. If you are not being honest, then my point has some validity. If Jeffy Poo thinks I am projecting.
    No Jeff; I just find that people who use that term. Usually associate it with something they see as a slight and lesser work than something like Frozen River. They also ignore the simple flick: popcorn is available at every film. So they are all popcorn films. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAwwweeeeeeeeesoooooooooommmmmeeee!!

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    No, Curtis: It’s your problem. You are being silly. I am being serious. It’s that simple. You are insisting that all of us behave according your definitions. Just who died and make you fucking king of the world? Such arrogance. How pathetic. Who do you think you are, Jeff Wells?

  36. Hallick says:

    To me, “popcorn movie” is a label that basically says “it was mindless fun, but just mindless fun”. Even saying “that was a GREAT popcorn movie” is sort of like going to Taco Bell and saying “that was a GREAT chalupa!”. Not that the chalupa’s being put down (wait – wasn’t that the friggin’ catch phrase?), but nobody’s going to mistake it for a gormet meal either.
    If somebody feels like The Dark Knight is a popcorn movie, that’s they’re right. But IHTC has a point. The label keeps movies like TDK at a lower status somehow.

  37. Hallick says:

    correction: “that’s THEIR right”.

  38. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Saint Nick: we will just agree to disagree. I still think it’s a slam. If you are not using it that way. I just have to take your word for it, and we will go from there. See? No smoke monster because I sold it to Jeff Wells for a Buick and a box of coloured pencils!

  39. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a pop album, but it’s still one of the greatest albums ever made. And just because it’s pop doesn’t mean it’s any less valid, it just means that it’s got things that can be seen as for mass consumption. Same as The Dark Knight. But some people hate pop music so I guess they’d hate something like The Dark Jesus God of Babylon being compared to it even if it is in the positive.

  40. Hallick says:

    “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a pop album, but it’s still one of the greatest albums ever made. And just because it’s pop doesn’t mean it’s any less valid, it just means that it’s got things that can be seen as for mass consumption.”
    Sgt Pepper’s is a pop music record for sure; but I never see it geting labelled in the equivalent way that people would refer to certain films as “popcorn movies”. Something about the record transcends simple categorizing. It’s unique enough that just calling it a “pop record” seems underwhelming and inadequate. It’s a work that can’t just be boiled down into a nondescript tag like that.
    For me, it’s like calling a book a “potboiler”; which in and of itself is neither a compliment nor an insult really. The book could be a great potboiler. it could be one the best books somebody ever read; but the “potboiler” label still casts something of a pall over it, no?
    Maybe I’m just being idiosyncratic about the phrase anyway, but when I see people saying “The Dark Knight is a popcorn movie”, I’m seeing people say, “The Dark Knight is just a popcorn movie, and nothing more than that, so stop complaining that it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, because that’s a category for serious pictures”. Come on. There’s a grain of truth to that. Just a grain.

  41. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Hallick everybody. He’s here on week, and twice on Thursdays! If you come by early Sunday. He will sign your merchandise purchases. Hallick everybody…. GIVE IT UP!

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

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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.

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