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David Poland

By David Poland

Review – Watchmen

Will have to wait until I see it next week.
Yes, Virginia, I have been relegated by the very confident WB to seeing their mega-smash in what will surely be an overbooked all-media next week. When I spoke to the responsible on the film, not asking for a screening time, but actually trying to confirm a negative story floating around about the film (I still haven

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42 Responses to “Review – Watchmen”

  1. ManWithNoName says:

    I’m calling a yellow caution light from DP on the Critics’ Roundup, and his mixed-positive review causing IOI a brain anuerysm . . .

  2. Devin Faraci says:

    Dave, I’m going to assume I’m one of the people you’re saying was not in the tank for the movie when I gave my good review, just for the benefit of the doubt.
    But a serious question, and one I’ve wondered before, and not meant with disrespect or anything but:
    Do you currently consider yourself a film critic? I ask this because I can’t find any actual reviews from you here for the year 2009. I found a chart that has little dots under your name next to movies, but no actual reviews. It’s possible that I am not looking in the right place, but I can see that you gave THE INTERNATIONAL a red dot, but I can’t find your review of the movie. I can find your DP30 for it, though.
    Again, not an attack, a sincere question, since it seems like writing reviews is of zero priority to you. I can’t even seem to find any Sundance reviews from you.

  3. Crow T Robot says:

    Dave, I guaran-damn-tee if you’d have reviewed one movie a week in the past two months, like actual critics do, you’d have seen Watchmen by now. Maybe even one movie this year.
    But you — like 90% of bloggers — are a hypster. You’re just looking for red meat to chew on. And Warners is completely within its right to handle/steer/corral hypsters the way they feel best.
    And please stop whining about it… this is the world, and the attitude within it, you help create… the world of charts and graphs and, as you just mentioned, The Accountant as Auteur.
    I’m starting to think you’d be better at what you do if you never saw any movies. That way you could objectively cover the hype. That does seem to be your goal — at least for the last few years anyway.

  4. Crow T Robot says:


  5. SJRubinstein says:

    It’s kind of weird going into a movie where increasingly entrenched camps already exist before the thing has even opened to call you an idiot once you’ve formulated your opinion on “Watchmen,” no matter what that opinion it might be.
    But hey, “Sugar,” “Hunger” and “Duplicity” open stateside in March, too!!

  6. mysteryperfecta says:

    DP doesn’t review movies. He reviews reviewers and their reviews. 😉

  7. anghus says:

    A movie studio trying to control the press?
    I don’t buy it. It makes no sense. Where’s the logic?
    Only showing Watchmen to critics friendly to the geek camp? Madness.
    You’re livelihood is made and broken by the whim of the respective studio who only put up with most websites because they’re easily manipulated and will do almost anything to maintain the status quo. With the ad rates plummeting, the only winners are going to be those who play the game or at least write with enough zeal to maintain a loyal audience. Oh, and the liars, gossip mongers, and tabloid whores.
    Anyone who is already on the fence is about to get a double donkey punch of meager returns from advertising and a glut of new voices laid off from respective publications and trying to blog for a living. The only people will remain will be those popular enough to pay their bills with their work and those who truly love writing about film and are willing to do it for nothing.
    The entertainment website Middle Class is about to be eliminated.

  8. Hallick says:

    “And when a studio goes out of their way to make it harder for me, I go out of my way to avoid responding to that paranoid tap dancing. So in the end, it usually means a kinder review

  9. I swear to Christ…
    I follow Devin/CHUD and a BUNCH of others (Scott Weinberg/E Douglas, /Film, FSR) on twitter via the Film Threat twitter and you guys have single handedly RUINED fucking WATCHMEN for me. Starting late last week it’s been nothing but a f-ing circle jerk of “I’m a professional I adhere to embargoes. Oh, THOSE guys aren’t professional…they broke embargo. Embarrrgoooo. EMBARGOOoooooo. EMBARGOOoooooooo!
    I posted early cuz mom said I could!
    Those guys broke the embargo
    Now you guys have Poland dragged into it!
    I mean, jesus people. It’s a fucking stupid comic book movie that looks EXACTLY LIKE THE COMIC BOOK!! Zach Snyder is a TRACER ala “Chasing Amy.” Calm down, live your life, post a review or shut UP about it.
    I loved the book and I will see the movie but sweet Christ on a crucifix…let it GO already. Either post your review or give the PR flak from WB living hell for letting people post not-really-a-review-cuz-it’s-an-anonymous-source review! You’re well within your rights and won’t lost that golden set-visit/editing room peek/early screening teat you all subsist on.
    Obviously, the answer would be to un-follow you all on twitter but generally, it’s a smaller dose of your site(s) and I enjoy most of the banter. But it’s become EMBARRASSING over there and it has to reflect badly on your site(s). It’s like you’re little kids at the playground sharing your pail and shovel and looking over at mom to make sure she saw you being nice and obeying the rules.
    Bottom line: If PR people are letting people slide (which they are) say something. Don’t hide behind this holier than thou “I follow the RULES stance.” Grow a pair and call some people out. Or don’t. But stop this chitter chatter…it’s lame.

  10. Devin Faraci says:

    Sorry we take our jobs seriously and talk about it amongst ourselves.

  11. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    ManNo: if you have read any of Scorcher’s previous thread entry. I am thinking that you could already see where David is going to go with the Watchmen. Especially in light of the circle jerk Don has been referring to on Twitter (how anyone can follow anyone else on Twitter astounds me).
    So I promise no smoke monster attacks, no unnecessary cursing, and no flipping out. If you hate it. You hate it, and we will go from there.

  12. LYT says:

    At least the all-media’s at the Grove and not some shitty place that rents cheap like the Avco.
    Why assume you’ll get a “shit seat,” David? Come early. Hell, there really aren’t many bad seats at the Grove — I once had to watch a movie from the very top row and it wasn’t ideal, but not terrible either.

  13. Psst…Devin….it’s not “amongst yourselves” when we can all fucking read it. Endlessly. For days. And days.

  14. Devin Faraci says:

    Sorry. I forgot when we made you follow us, and when we then made you read the tweets.

  15. Devin Faraci says:

    Also, I just read the last couple of days of the Film Threat twitter. Let’s not be throwing stones about bad twittering here.

  16. David Poland says:

    I think this thread is completely self-defining… amusing as hell to me.
    And no, Devin, I have not reviewed a single shit movie that opened since the first of the year. Reviewed about 20 at Sundance. Will review over 100 before this year ends, as I have every year for the last decade or so. But no, I am not a film critic in January and February becuase studios are not releasing films worth reviewing.
    And Crow, that’s just bullshit. I would have seen the movie by now if I attended a junket and sat at a roundtable. Don’t be too clever to be smart.

  17. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Scorcher: you know why I love your Sundance reviews? When you really selling something. You sell it so well, that a brother remembers it years later. This enables him to finally see Wristcutters on TV, and be appreciative of the brother who first pointed it out back in the day. So thanks for that sir, and twittering is bullshit. Seriously; I am sure you have interesting days, but do they involve fighting a giant off with a sleeper hold? Hmmmmmmmmmmm? Doubt it. You self-aggrandizing motherfuckers!

  18. christian says:

    Key word here: Twitter.

  19. Hallick says:

    “And no, Devin, I have not reviewed a single shit movie that opened since the first of the year. Reviewed about 20 at Sundance. Will review over 100 before this year ends, as I have every year for the last decade or so. But no, I am not a film critic in January and February becuase studios are not releasing films worth reviewing.”
    fuck – I was on tenterhooks waiting for your take on “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience”. Why you gotta piss in my punch, Dave? It was cranberry….you’re supposed to drink it BEFORE you go number one! It doesn’t work the other way around…
    PS – “Coraline” was a shit movie?

  20. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Yes; it is THE SHIT! That’s what it is, Hal. IT IS THE SHIT!

  21. jeffmcm says:

    A real film critic reviews movies regardless of whether or not they think they’re going to like them, because that’s what ‘criticism’ is about – parsing the art for useful information/ artistic trends/ intellectual tendencies. And you find can find this even in the likes of Madea Goes to Prison or My Bloody Valentine or Paul Blart.
    Mystery got it most right.

  22. LexG says:

    “I am not a film critic in January and February becuase studios are not releasing films worth reviewing.”
    Yeah, just one more voice in the chorus on this, and DP *had* to know that would get folks riled up… But critic or not, isn’t that kind of an elitist, snobbish attitude? And one that’s based on a decades-old USA Today/Maltin/EW-worthy cliche– “It’s a JANUARY MOVIE!”
    There’s plenty of fun stuff that comes out every year in those early months, and in other Poland-derided “dumping grounds.” But he seems to have entered a Turan-esque “old man who only watches PROPER CINEMA or BIG BLOCKBUSTERS” mentality. Anything else is BENEATH HIM.
    A lot of cool, junky, fun genre films– horror and disreputable action and grossout comedies– *drop* in those off-season months, and most people grow out of that to some degree, which is a shame because in many cases those are the formative types of fun exploitation quickies that got a lot of us into movies in the first place. But writing off ALL of February and January for such an arbitrary and bullshit rule would seem to suggest a basic contempt for the tenets of pulp and even mass-audience moviegoing.
    Come on, Poland, don’t turn into Turan, turning a blind eye to all of today’s youth culture and music and trends, putting up a virtual fence around an all-Caucasian Westside existence.
    Otherwise you risk becoming one of those D-bags who clamors for GRINDHOUSE and expends 20 gallons of ink writing about it and QT and Rodriguez… even though you wouldn’t be CAUGHT DEAD at a Jason Statham movie or My Bloody Valentine or The Unborn.
    Which is the very definition of irony.

  23. Devin Faraci says:

    Dave, I can’t find your Sundance reviews. I can find Voynar’s and Pride’s, but not yours. This is likely some kind of problem on my end, but if you have 20 reviews up I would think I would have stumbled on one by now. Perhaps there’s just a better way to archive these things. Maybe having the colored circles on the round up grid be hyperlinks to the actual review could help.
    And Googling doesn’t help. For instance, I found your iPhoned MILK first reaction, but I haven’t been able to find an actual review. I’d actually be very interested in reading your full take on the film, since your initial reaction was exceptionally positive.
    By the way, I would think that TWO LOVERS and CORALINE both deserve your review attention, especially since you gave CORALINE a green dot.
    Your Rotten Tomatoes page gives the impression that the last film you reviewed was RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, but I’m sure that’s just a function of not updating the RT page – God knows I forget to update mine all the time, and then when a movie has been released I kind of never bother.
    Anyway, if you could point me to your Sundance reviews, I’d be really interested in reading them. Again, not an attack or a gotcha or anything. I have been disappointed that it seemed like I hadn’t been seeing reviews from you in a while, and if I was just looking in the wrong place I’d like to know where to actually look.

  24. Devin Faraci says:

    I take it back! I found a ‘Short Take’ on PUSH. You really hid it though. So maybe the other 19 will come as I continue to scour the site looking for your reviews.

  25. mutinyco says:

    I think you’re all having tweeter envy because your tweeters aren’t as big as the blue guy in Watchmen.

  26. Martin S says:

    This is the funniest damn thread I’ve read here in sometime.
    This is an argument of quantity versus quality. I stopped reading CHUD on any kind of regular basis because it’s personality-driven filler content. I haven’t read Devin’s review of Watchmen because he was too close to the production, making it so he’s going to see beyond what’s on the screen. I did read Knowles and McWeeney’s, the former out of morbid curiosity and the latter out of interest considering how long he’s been covering this production.
    But the main two web reviews I’m waiting for are Garth’s at DH and Dave’s. Garth because he’s the most objective and Dave because I find he’s usually right about a movie’s shortcoming. If Dave gave a long review to Blart, I’d actually be worried for his business. We all know what to expect from Blart, the question is if it works. I don’t need Poland to inform me if Blart, F13, or PP2 work, they’re WOM flicks that can be critic-proof. Watchmen is not and if this becomes the mainstream mantra…
    ..then it opens a huge debate that was started early in pre-production, but excludes the people who were reporting from the inside that never voiced concerns.
    As for why he didn’t get an early review, it has nothing to do with his amount of coverage. This is an industry-intensive site, so all he had to do was tick someone off with his Watchmen legal coverage.

  27. Blackcloud says:

    Damn, that’s a pretty clear slam from Honeycutt. Not sure what his track record is on these kinds of flicks, but his take does confirm one of the narratives that is likely to be competing for dominance on this movie. Personally, I have no confidence because Snyder is doing it, but I’ll probably see it in the first week anyway, I hope in IMAX.

  28. bulldog68 says:

    Devin Feracy asked: “Do you currently consider yourself a film critic? I ask this because I can’t find any actual reviews from you here for the year 2009. I found a chart that has little dots under your name next to movies, but no actual reviews. It’s possible that I am not looking in the right place, but I can see that you gave THE INTERNATIONAL a red dot, but I can’t find your review of the movie. I can find your DP30 for it, though.”
    Dave answered: “And no, Devin, I have not reviewed a single shit movie that opened since the first of the year. Reviewed about 20 at Sundance. Will review over 100 before this year ends, as I have every year for the last decade or so. But no, I am not a film critic in January and February because studios are not releasing films worth reviewing.”
    Being a daily reader to this site, and an audience to all the drunken rages, douchebag crownings, political diatribes and the such, I must say that that answer worries me the most Dave. It’s your reviews that brought me to the site in the first place. I loved how your reviews were a mix of critical and personal opines. It may be very simplistic of me to say but how do you know that January and February movies are shit if you haven’t seen them? Simplistic I know, but Coraline? Really Dave? Additionally, while many, including myself, did not agree with your affection to Speed Racer, I love when a critic defends a film, and intellectually so, when others disagree. The same way you found Zack and Miri a pleasure, while many critics said it was shit, how do you know that you may not be one to defend Paul Blart, or Notorious, (which by the way was a well reviewed flick). I don’t know waht you think this site has evolved into, and I certainly don’t pay you a salary, but if you put yourself and your film opinions out there, then I think its your ‘job’ to remain current. While we as readers don’t ‘deserve’ anything from you, we at least want you at the same level with us when we discuss Taken or Coraline, because to be frank, if you haven’t seen the film, then the only thing that is worth shit is your opinion.
    There are some films that we know what they are, F13th, Saw, Fired Up, and of course every once in awhile, even one of these surprises us, like Superbad, The Descent and others. But when a movie becomes a talking point, and if even ever so briefly, becomes a talking point, a la Taken, Blart, Coraline, aren’t you as a film lover even curious? Forget The Blog, Your Job, everything else, doesn’t your love of movies get you there, so that you can offer an informed opinion? Panning a film without seeing it makes you just as guilty as the guys who want films banned and protest others even without seeing so much as one second of celluloid. Don’t disappoint me Dave. Get your ass to the movies. And no more Watchmen non-reviews reviews until you]ve seen the fucker.
    I say this with much love. I’ve come to chew bubble gum and kick ass. I’m all out of bubble gum.

  29. scooterzz says:

    unless i’m mistaken, honeycutt’s 11th graph leads me to believe he didn’t see the film or needs to see it again….

  30. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Scoot: you are onto something. It’s either a mistake, or he clearly had no idea what was occurring in the film. If it’s the former. These things happen. If it’s the latter. His review is totally and utterly… negated.

  31. Martin S says:

    I would agree, but his underlying issue is backed up by the concern in the Variety review…
    It appears that if you know the book, you’ll appreciate Snyder’s diligence.
    The biggest fear I’ve had, Snyder’s attempt to replicate Moore’s book commentary on superheroes by commenting on movie superhero cliches, seems lost in translation. I’ve debated this point for years and some like IO and McWeeney have argued that it was now possible due to the eruption of superhero movies, and Snyder made a good case in some interviews. But it always relied on the audience to view the movie as a case study and not a dramatic story.

  32. chris says:

    Oh, for crying out loud! Mistakes happen. Of course the guy saw the movie before he reviewed it.

  33. scooterzz says:

    chris — yeah, mistakes happen but there are way too many in that review to justify honnycut calling the movie ‘lackadaisical’…i would think if you were going to pan a movie, you’d make sure your facts were straight….
    even without notes, after sitting through a three hour movie, i’d know if i was looking at carla gugino/sally or malin akerman/laurie (especially since ‘dan’ calls her by name about a hundred times and the characters are as different as night and day…

  34. Kirk made a mistake. Let’s forgive him. David loved Phantom of the Opera. We forgave him. One thing I will say is this: THR is dying and they can use all the hits they can get. Kirk just got them a few.

  35. LexG says:

    You know one thing that seems kind of lame about the WATCHMEN movie vs. the book?
    I know the purists would’ve cried foul, but Snyder REEEEEEALLY should’ve updated the time frame. I’m reading the book, and these are characters are like 60 years old or some shit, all talking about getting together in the 1930S AND 1940S. All these Nixon and Nam references, all of which are TOTALLY OUT OF DATE and no younger geeks are gonna care.
    Like, the Malin Akerman character is supposed to be in her mid-30s, and she’s one of the younger Watchmen. So why are all the actors like 35 years old and Akerman’s in her mid-20s? Long as they were casting younger they should’ve dropped all that old-ass shit and changed the timeline.
    Cause I can’t picture JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN being like some badass *OVER 40 YEARS AGO* and approaching old-ass age the beginning of the story.
    Should’ve changed it to modern times, because I’d put good money down Synder didn’t bother believably recreating *1985* in ANY way whatsoever.

  36. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Lex: geeks still read this story in droves. It’s not about the setting as much as it’s about that story. It’s a good story. It also features a 5th term Nixon. Who doesnt love a 5th term Nixon?
    It’s also not OUR 1985. It’s the WATCHMEN’S 1985. So he really did not have to recreate the 1985 you went through as a more optimistic — but still horny — teenager.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t mind Akerman and Patrick Wilson being younger than their characters, but I have yet to understand how 30-year old Matthew Goode can convincingly play a wealthy captain of industry.

  38. Well, that is called direction.
    Full disclosure: I have seen WATCHMEN. Loved it. But if you haven’t seen it, by all means bitch about it. Like your opinion means a damn thing.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    What ‘is called direction’?
    And Mr Hunter ‘Ian Sinclair’ Tremayne, your bona fides may not be fully in order.

  40. leahnz says:

    hey, what about the glowing blue shlong? i’ve heard practically nothing about it or seen more than a brief passing mention in a couple of reviews…is it a case of (whispers) ‘don’t mention the war’, or is it just a non-issue? i hope it’s door #2

  41. christian says:

    Ian Sinclair Returns!

  42. Martin S says:

    Dave, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

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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?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

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