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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – Monday


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175 Responses to “BYOB – Monday”

  1. It’s hard to keep my cool when I just read yesterday about those greedy AIG bastards planning to give that much money in bonus packages for those executives. What. the. HELL.
    It’s been such a shitty weekend for the Watchmen, huh? Defeated by a Disney film, how embarrassing.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    But DeafPunk: It was a fun Disney film. Really.

  3. Machina de La Verdad says:

    Mr. Poland likes to point out that he has this internet thing figured out, that he has his financing together and is paying Voynar and Klady and the rest of the mediocrity. But is this true? Right this minute there are ZERO ads on the front page of the site and ZERO ads on the Hot Blog. How much does an ad generate anyway? Does the newly married Mr. Poland have an visible means of support? He once famously attacked Jeff Wells for begging for ad space, but is there a studio around that would actually take an ad on this site which seems to be focused on calling out filmmakers that he doesn’t like?

  4. Nick Rogers says:

    There goes the civility.

  5. LexG says:

    Machina de La Verdad, if she’s there on the set right now, can you tell Foxina de La Megandad that she owns?

  6. hcat says:

    Don’t Care
    New Topic
    Saw Syndoche, New York this weekend and while it was a strong effort with some really good ideas I thought it was quite disappointing. This led me to think of other films I just could not wait to see and was let down. The latest Indy would be on the list as well as Ang Lee’s Hulk but my biggest disappointment so far this decade had to be Lynch’s Inland Empire. Any other nominations?

  7. jeffmcm says:

    You just named 2 movies that I completely loved and I liked well enough (Synecdoche, Inland, and Indy, in that order).
    I was pretty profoundly disappointed by George Miller’s Babe 2 based on my expectations from the first one.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    That should be ‘and one that I liked well enough’.
    Another to add to the list: Matrix Revolutions.

  9. David Poland says:

    Wow… I now know – or am very close to knowing – who Machina de la Verdad is. And it’s not terribly surprising, though it is disappointing, as if this is the person it seems to be – there is an outside shot that it’s someone in this person’s office – this indicates that the person is both a coward and a liar.
    As has been the case for the 6.5 years we’ve been in business, full house of ads during Oscar season, limited buys during the season. Fortunately, we have been able to keep the business going along quite successfully on that basis.
    The reason we are supported financially during the Oscar season is our readership. The reason we are well-looked after editorially all year long is both our readership and the respect we have earned over the years.
    Thanks for playing What Stupid Questions That Are Really None Of Your Business Can You Use To Try To Attack Me Personally When I Have NEVER Done Anything To You Even Though You Have Made Shit Up In Your Head To Make You Think I Have Slighted You.

  10. LexG says:

    Inland Empire:
    HUGE Lynch fan and liked this in the moment, but I think I turned on it fairly quickly after seeing it. Of course it has flashes of brilliance and Lynch awesomeness, and the sound design is amazing. But even though the accusation has been leveled at him for 20 years, for me this was the first film where he just seemed to be throwing ANYTHING at the wall to see what would stick. It’s thirty-forty minutes longer than Mulholland or Lost Highway, but it feels three times the length of either, because it’s all just random free-association TM bullshit, and lacking the propulsive hook of Blue Velvet or Mulholland.
    Yeah, everyone’ll jump up and down at how FEARLESS! Laura Dern’s work in it is, but it just feels like 45 random scenes and emotions screamed into a camcorder over two or three years’ time with arbitrary motivations and possibly no internal sense of what was even supposed to be going on in her scenes.
    As an audio-visual experiment and actors’ exercise, it’s striking if still a MASSIVE endurance test. Here the usual eerieness of the wordless passages just turns into exhaustion; Plus I don’t think I’m as in love with Laura Dern as Lynch is.
    Maybe if it had been the EXACT SAME MOVIE but had Jessica Alba or Elizabeth Banks (or WATTS) in the lead, I’d have been more charitable.

  11. David Poland says:

    Very impressive call, LexG.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Lex, I don’t disagree with any of your description of the movie up there (“45 random scenes and emotions screamed into a camcorder over two or three years’ time with arbitrary motivations”)
    I love it.

  13. leahnz says:

    ‘I was pretty profoundly disappointed by George Miller’s Babe 2 based on my expectations from the first one.’
    i don’t know why exactly but that’s funny, jeff
    ‘Plus I don’t think I’m as in love with Laura Dern as Lynch is.’
    i’m fairly certain nobody is as in love with laura dern as lynch is

  14. hcat says:

    Sorry I meant to say this decade, but will take farther back. Pig in the City gets better upon repeat viewing but doesn’t compare to the first Babe (probably in my top ten).
    I found Syndoche to be poorly paced and somewhat lethargic. Kaufman should have picked something less ambitious to be his first effort and left Syndoche for later or at least allowed it to be filmed by someone else.
    I was never a huge Matrix fan to begin with so the unraveling of the franchise was not that big of a deal for me but I can see how it would be for someone invested in the material. But that’s just the nature of franchises, they will run Bond and Batman into the ground again to the horror of the fans and then simply reboot them. It seemed that Bourne was going to go out with some class (though I thought the third was repetitive) but I think the next one is slated for Summer 2010.

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    “i’m fairly certain nobody is as in love with laura dern as lynch is”
    Well, for a while, Jeff Goldblum….

  16. jeffmcm says:

    My second viewing of Babe 2 just confirmed to me that it was every bit as demoralizing and nihilistic as the first viewing. Maybe it was me.

  17. leahnz says:

    ‘Very impressive call, LexG.’
    to be fair, david poland, if you’re referring to ‘topic/discuss’ dude, jeff made that same call several days ago

  18. hcat says:

    Lex perfectly explained my problem with Inland. Thanks. And he is right about it being an endurance test, it took me three attempts to get through it. The only other movie that took that much effort was Youth without Youth (which I recall Jeff also liked).

  19. Josh Massey says:

    I’ve been a Lynch geek for 25 years, but it took me a week to get through Inland Empire (which is only a couple hours longer than the film actually was, I think). It seemed like a Lynch parody.
    And LexG’s first comment in this thread had me laughing for five minutes.

  20. David Poland says:

    Thx, Leah… I really stopped reading the Machina comments and the responses to them, so I guess I missed that. Congrats to Jeff and LexG for figuring out who the troll was.
    And for me, Pig In The City and Temple of Doom are the smarter, adult responses to strong originals… but not for all tastes.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    I did also like Youth Without Youth, but not nearly as much. That one was more of a toss-off for Coppola to get his directorial gears working again.
    Pretty much anything Lynch dumps on a movie screen will be something I love (except Wild at Heart, which I have never been able to enjoy).

  22. leahnz says:

    ‘except Wild at Heart, which I have never been able to enjoy’
    i just don’t get that, jeff, i love ‘wild at heart’, it’s filthy! i’m now going to browbeat you for 20 mins to get you to change your mind

  23. Blackcloud says:

    “Machina de La Verdad, if she’s there on the set right now, can you tell Foxina de La Megandad that she owns?”
    As the internet kiddies would say, LexG totally PWNED Machina de La Vapidity.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    Leah: it’s filthy, all right.
    I’d say Wild at Heart is a better example of ‘a Lynch parody’ than Inland Empire, though. Except that I don’t find it funny.

  25. hcat says:

    Its not just you Jeff, Babe 2 is rough but the city is a rough place for a pig. And I am not sure it is nihilistic as Babe overcomes the obstacles by remaining true to his moral center and getting the other animals to work together when they were previously all looking out for themselves. Without the farmer there was no strong emotional core to the movie but I thought it was still a good film.
    Not saying your wrong for being disappointed, you certainly weren’t alone. I think that was one of the films along with Meet Joe Black that got the head of Universal fired around that time (plus they passed on domestic for Titanic, wouldn’t that keep you up at night knowing that you said no thank you when offered Titanic).

  26. jeffmcm says:

    I can absolutely respect Babe 2 on an intellectual level, but I’d have to say that as a movie, it still failed for me.
    I also hated the look of it- all thrown together like the ‘future’ in BTTF 2.

  27. hcat says:

    Mulholland has got to be my favorite from Lynch. So strange that he as able to take the bits and pieces of the pilot and transform them into a coherent and satisfying whole. But it is all about Watts in that film, that has to be one of the fiercest performances I have ever seen.

  28. storymark says:

    Wait… I just assumed Machina was another of IO’s multiple personalities. But it was someone else? Could IO actually have a friend?

  29. leahnz says:

    you know, i’m a fan of ‘wild @ heart’ but i can see your point, jeff.
    most of lynch’s work has a certain mysterious, surreal, cryptic sensibility, as if a tissue-thin veil of secrecy hangs over proceedings and the viewer (me) feels like ‘if i could only just break through that tissue of mystery i might actually understand what the hell is going on here!’, but ‘wild @ heart’ is quite a departure for lynch, it’s more akin to a big, sloppy, juicy smorgasbord of sexual proclivity, weird-as fuck-characters and deranged violence laid out on a big table clear as day for all to see and dive into if so inclined – you are obviously not inclined, you find the layout repulsive and i can understand that, actually. so, yeah

  30. THX5334 says:

    I thought the repeating bold face sig. was the biggest giveaway. It was just too close to the other one at summer dissing the tin man that is so money.
    It’s a little surprising in that they usually don’t hide behind an alias (though I don’t begrudge that, I do it all day long)
    But more surprising, based on their rep. I truly thought they would be slicker with their writing so as the body of the text would read so close to how they usually write and would be quick enough to know not to give as big a giveaway as the bold signature.
    My only conclusion is that this person’s ego got the best of them and they wanted it known and figured who they really are.
    All I know is that I don’t want to cross the dude. According to my friends that have worked with him; once he decides he doesn’t like you, he is relentless about trying to bury you in this game.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    To be fair to him, even after clashing here multiple times under his previous nickname and his real name, he still asked me to send him a copy of my short film. He never had any comments about it though, so I assume he (or his assistant) didn’t like it.

  32. leahnz says:

    haven’t you just crossed him by calling him out? shoulda kept your yap shut and gloated silently

  33. storymark says:

    Oh…. him.

  34. Machina de La Verdad says:

    I wish I could say it has been fun playing… now for the 77th time could you kindly point us all to where Larry Gordon’s public letter is reprinted I would like to read it.
    Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But, beware of men.

  35. leahnz says:

    ‘But it is all about Watts in that film, that has to be one of the fiercest performances I have ever seen.’
    re: mulholland drive, i meant to say before, i heard that, hcat. tour de force

  36. doug r says:

    So….anyone want to talk about Transformers 2 or Shoot’Em Up or Jon Favreau?

  37. Hopscotch says:

    I walked out of Inland Empire.
    It was playing at the Sunset 5 in LA, and it was literally one of the only theaters in the country showing it. I went with my roommate who was dying to see it and few other people. Literally about halfway through the movie there’s a scene with half-naked women dancing to “The Locomotion”. And that’s where I went “SO LONG.” Not bitter about it. My theory is I can handled a 90-minute non-sensical art movie. Not a three hour one.
    hcat’s question –
    A.I. was a big one for me. It’s not bad, it’s interesting in many ways, but it’s a mess in many more ways.
    The Ladykillers – Tom Hanks, Coen Brothers. I couldn’t wait. Yeesh.
    Dreamcatcher – Now, this is mainly because I really enjoyed the book, and I loved William Goldman and Larry Kasdan and the cast and I couldn’t wait to see how they were going to translate this into film. Answer: Literally the dumbest ways anyone could imagine it into film.
    I’ll keep thinking…I know there’s more…

  38. hcat says:

    It’s that Bastard that owes me money for co-opting my screenplay of ‘Fred Savage vs. the Space-Bots’ for his own property and cutting me out altogether.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    A.I. and Dreamcatcher are two more movies I adore (in very different ways).

  40. hcat says:

    Good call on Ladykillers, the only Coens I don’t like, plus I love the original so it was a double whammy. I get A.I. as well, the first hour was excellent and heartbreaking but as soon as Jude Law shows up and it becomes a road movie I lose interest.
    Never saw Dreamcatchers, Its a shame Kasden never really rebounded from Earp. Like Reiner and Levinson, they had so much promise at the beginning and just sort of went off the rails.
    So add Toys to the list, thought Levinson would be on a roll after Bugsy but man that film was awful (would have loved to see what Gilliam could have done with it).

  41. dietcock says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that it’s comically ironic that Machina de la Don Murphy is using the “Pulp Fiction” biblical quote as his signature, even after the well-known fisticuffs dust-up he had with QT? Man, Poland, he must REALLY hate you….

  42. David Poland says:

    Here is a link to the pdf, “Mac”.
    Yes, it is a letter signed by a lawyer… and leaked to The Hollywood Reporter as soon as it was NOT read into the record of the trial.
    You know, the really stupid thing about this is that there has been more shit thrown at WB because you insist of fighting about this – even though you were dead wrong about the legal fight… something I was gracious enough not to throw in your face – in some strange idea of what you think I am doing wrong.
    And I have to say… it really bothers me… because I don’t play this way with anyone. I may be obnoxious. I may be wrong. But I don’t play these bullshit childish games.

  43. storymark says:

    There are a great number of things funny about Machina.

  44. lazarus says:

    I have yet to take the Inland Empire plunge. Lynch can be hit or miss with me. Loved Mulholland but thought Lost Highway was the exactly type of “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” bullshit that Lex was talking about in ref to the most recent film.
    I don’t have a problem sitting through something long and experimental; I just recently absorbed Jacques Rivette’s Out 1, which runs almost THIRTEEN hours, and loved it. The question is whether or not there’s something holding everything together, and I’m not sure if Laura Dern as Lynch’s trained monkey/energizer bunny can do that alone. Because I don’t find Lynch’s obsessions and musings anywhere near as profound or interesting as Rivette’s.

  45. David Poland says:

    For the record, I am banning all three fake names that have been commenting from the same IP address as the openly named individual. If he/she wants to comment, he/she will have to do it with his/her real name… or make up another name, which I will ban on sight.
    There are many people on here who have used multiple names over the years. But I think, in a case like this, it is a reasonable choice on my part.
    Goodbye Machina, JWEgo, and Armin Tamzarian/ Principal Skinner. You won’t be missed.

  46. jeffmcm says:

    Speaking of Rivette, Jeanne Dielman will be screening here in LA next month.

  47. Gagged By Blog Owner says:

    I too am not interested in playing your games, Mr Poland.
    1- Larry Gordon neither signed nor sent an OPEN LETTER. Hence your criticism is wrong in the original rant. And David Hayter did not WHINE in his letter, sir.
    2- You may think you know who I am and in a blog that is open to the public it should not matter who I am. Safe to say that Armin/Skinner and JW Ergo ain’t me, man.
    3- I am being banned for????? questioning your posts? Pointing out your lies? What rules of the road have been violated for me to be so censored?
    4- Perhaps I wanted Warners to see what you are about…perhaps a certain person has been forwarded everything so that when ad time comes….
    But I digress…..
    It’s just the internets, Jake

  48. jeffmcm says:

    I’m sorry, I was confusing Jacques Rivette with Chantal Akerman. I know we’ve all done that.

  49. mysteryperfecta says:

    I was disappointed with Babe 2 as well. Babe was perfect.
    Now I’m even more confused about where free speech begins and ends in this blog. Get drunk, Machina, and you can safely ratchet up the vitrol a couple notches.

  50. Blackcloud says:

    Free speech has no end on this blog for it has no beginning. It is David’s realm, and he may rule it as a perfect despot if he desires. He is sovereign.
    I think Dave is perfectly willing to let Machina post. He just will have to do so under his real name, as he has done in the past. Which name Martin S and jeffmcm deduced a week ago.

  51. David Poland says:

    Nothing remotely confusing about it, Mystery.
    Machina/JWEgo/ArminTamzarian/Gagged and one more actual real life identity all come from the same IP address. This address could, certainly, be being used by more than one person.
    The real-life person who I know comes from this IP is now claiming that it’s not him. I choose to believe him for the time being.
    Meanwhile, whoever it is has now publicly indicated his intention to damage my business and continues to libel me with falsehoods and insinuation.
    Let’s not even get into the fact that most of the people on here seem to think he is a distraction and not a positive addition to this blog. Let’s stick to protected speech.
    Stupid is fine. Libel is not. And not just of me, of anyone in here. If someone posts that you are a right wing nut, that is offensive opinion. If someone posted that they knew that you had sex with a donkey and you had not, they would be just as banned as all these fake names.
    Besides, the extended drunken rants were removed. So what do you want, mystery?

  52. scooterzz says:

    re: ‘wild at heart’
    i’ve always thought of it as one of lynch’s most entertaining films….and has one of my all-time fave nic cage performances (the other being ‘vampire’s kiss)….
    cage really needs to go a little nutty again, imo…

  53. scooterzz says:

    the donkey was asking for it…she shouldn’t have dressed that way….

  54. David Poland says:

    Could use some help here…
    Can any of you offer any insight into the following Wikipedia link? It has my head spinning a little. But it seems to be a likely step towards whoever has been posting from this IP adress.

  55. mysteryperfecta says:

    If we’re getting legalistic, then understand that your libel charge holds no water, and so using it as an excuse to ban holds no water, imo.
    There is no protected speech on this blog– as Blackcloud stated, you are sovereign. But you’ve always excused bad behavior out of your reverent devotion to free speech. To be consistent, you should allow this irritant to blather unabated under any alias he chooses. You’re more than capable of neutralizing him with words (or silence).

  56. jeffmcm says:

    DM is from Hicksville, NY?
    Now it all makes sense.

  57. IOIOIOI says:

    Mystery: indeed he is, but The Mean Machine is trying to prove a point. I believe David is being a douche recently, but that’s as far as it goes. If I had any intention to unleash on Poland anymore, then I have recently. Well, really, how exactly could I do that again? Spit in his face or something? That’s just rude. Nevertheless; David has been running his mouth towards Warners for close to a year now. Now someone has decided to prove a point. It sucks, but these things happen.
    I would state this: if you are going to go for someone’s knees. Be more open about it.

  58. David Poland says:

    Okay… another reminder why I hate all this banning stuff…
    Just spoke to Don Murphy. He absolutely denies that this was him. It does come from an IP address associated with him at The Henson Studios. But he is of the impression that many, many people work off of that same IP address.
    Turns out that he was ColScott (as per the link a few comments above) and that the entire IP has been banned from Wikipedia. He takes responsibility for this.
    As per my normal mindset, I choose to believe him. And I will assume that someone else on that lot is harboring some serious rage at me and/or this business.
    I am curious why you think my libel charge holds no water, mystery.

  59. David Poland says:

    Really, IO, this notion that I am after WB is just plain wrong. The studio has had a rollercoaster ride for the last few years. But trying to claim bias requires that I hold the studio to some standard to which I do not hold others.
    I don’t set the field. I only report on what is laid out there by these studios and indies.
    You mix your fact in with your faith and vice versa so that you, not I, have suspect opinions about the reality of things. Your opinion about the movies is yours… enjoy and God bless. But I count EVERYONE’s grosses against cost, not just WB.
    It just so happens that very few of the studios are well managed right now and most of the ones that are making single digits on investments because even they spend too much on too little.
    When I follow the money, I actually follow the money. Does the fact that Paramount didn’t make much on Iron Man or Kung Fu Panda or Indiana Jones make the movies bad? No… of course not. But if I break out the earnings and mention how little Par made on Iron Man and that Marvel’s summer profit was thinned by The Hulk, you whine that I am attacking Iron Man because I didn’t like it nearly as much as others and you don’t even think much about The Hulk because no one really cared.
    But that doesn’t make me biased or factually inaccurate.
    If I seem to be a hard ass, it’s because I forget how personal it is to some people. And when I think about that as I am writing, I know that I am not doing my job right… because there is no crying in movieball.
    And the truth is, I have been responsive to the endless whining in here. I now try to set up every shot before any facts come in, so this notion that I am biased is diffused. But by simply setting up a structure on which to hang date, I find myself under attack.
    I write a lot less than I used to. I am a lot less mean that I once was. But my core values as a journalist? They haven’t changed much.
    So if you think I am being a douche lately, it’s probably the moment in the movie cycle, not me. If you think I am on a cynical or generous jag, that may be me. But I work hard to be very conscious about where my head is at… and then to forget it completely as I actually form ideas.

  60. IOIOIOI says:

    1) I called you out on Iron Man, and it had nothing to do with earnings. Go read the posts. I do believe that’s where McWeeney Style had it’s birth.
    2) Let’s hope we can get out of this cycle. So you start feeling less douchey in the future.

  61. T. Holly says:

    So how many people plan on watching Alexander T L on demand? I’m waiting until someone brings cheese and fruit.

  62. Lota says:

    I didn’t think it was Don Murphy directly, but maybe a member of the Mystery Douchebags.
    I quite like Wild at Heart…partly my deep affection for Harry Dean Stanton, but I also loved the terrifying moment of Diane Ladd putting her lip-goo all over her face. Yikes.
    I thought Inland Empire rocked as a tale of mental abuse.
    And Diane Ladd loves Laura Dern as least as much as Lynch.

  63. IOIOIOI says:

    Oh yeah… Ben Harper really loves Laura Dern. I just wanted to throw that out there.

  64. anghus says:

    dave, you might not have an axe to grind with warners, but your writing sends a different message. A lot of people are getting the axe grinding vibe.

  65. jeffmcm says:

    If it was some Henson Studios person, they have done a meticulous job of replicating DM’s writing style and attitude.

  66. mysteryperfecta says:

    “I am curious why you think my libel charge holds no water, mystery.”
    You’d have to prove real damage to your reputation. As long as you don’t give him undue attention, he’ll get bored and stop.

  67. IOIOIOI says:

    Anghus: I state this, and he emphatically denies it. So his writing is either pulling a fucking Freudian slip on his ass, or he’s lying. I tend to think he’s not lying, and does not get what he’s putting out there.

  68. dietcock says:

    On second thought, scratch that. If my last movie was a straight-to-video Kim Basinger flick, I’d probably be bitter enough to go on a kamikaze posting rampage, too.

  69. dietcock says:

    David: Given the pertinent fact that the IP address in question is originating from the Henson Studios, has the thought occurred to you that the troll(s) in question might not be DM but, rather, Statler and Waldorf?

  70. jeffmcm says:

    “I tend to think he’s not lying, and does not get what he’s putting out there.”
    Reminds me of someone.

  71. Lota says:

    Actually Diet-C it would be even better of it was a disappointed Gonzo and his girlie chickens. Or maybe Animal.

  72. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: really? You really think I am a liar? One more time… John Stewart… LET HIM HAVE IT! “FUCK YOU!”

  73. “And for me, Pig In The City and Temple of Doom are the smarter, adult responses to strong originals… but not for all tastes.”
    ROCK ON! Especially in the case of “Doom.”

  74. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, you can’t even read and understand what you yourself wrote?
    I’d agree that Babe 2 and Temple of Doom are both ‘more adult’ and certainly both more complex, but I don’t know that either are smarter, or for that matter, better. At least Indy has a character arc in ToD.

  75. leahnz says:

    Dramas with a capital D!
    ‘And Diane Ladd loves Laura Dern as least as much as Lynch.’
    lol, ms. lota, touche (pardone moi, je can’t seem to find the accent aigu on this puter)

  76. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: it would be QUAINT. If this came from anyone else, but it comes from you. THE MAN WHO WAS CONFOUNDED BY THE WORD “DAP.” So, again, Jeff McMahon can go and fuck himself. Hold on. He’s confused. Does he really go and fuck himself for the sixth time today, or does he just sigh his sigh of quiet desperation again? TUNE IN TO FIND OUT!

  77. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, you wrote that you think David isn’t lying, but is rather merely oblivious to what he’s saying.
    My take on you is exactly the same – which (shocking!) you don’t seem to understand.
    You are a crazy person.

  78. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: you dumb motherfucker. You stated a week or two back that you believe I LIE, and I DO NOT KNOW THAT I AM LYING. Excuse me for INFERRING from a previous fucking conversation, that you were referring to me. Seriously, John Stewart, give it to this mook again. “FUCK YOU!”

  79. IOIOIOI says:

    Oh yeah: Transformers 3… 2011! WOO! This trilogy is moving!

  80. jeffmcm says:

    I _was_ referring to you. I think you are almost always oblivious to what you are saying and how people understand you, and your inability to tell your perceptions from objective reality is a big part of that.

  81. IOIOIOI says:

    So I understand what you are stating, but I am still wrong? There’s no fucking winning with you. Goodness gracious. The fact that you stated this; “I think you are almost always oblivious to what you are saying and how people understand you”
    This coming from the biggest scumbag douche on this blog. Do you know how you are hated? Do you know how people wish you would take the hint and leave? You think I am oblivious? Really? Dude: take a fucking hint.
    “, and your inability to tell your perceptions from objective reality is a big part of that.”
    Your perceptions is you have the right to be a dick to me. The reality: I beat the shit out of you in this blog on a daily basis. I show you to be the narrow-minded fuckwit everyone knows you are, but lack the courage to tell you.
    You should never play with me. The fact that you think you can fight me in any way, is really fucking funny.

  82. anghus says:

    had ai ended with the kid stuck underwater for all eternity begging for the blue fairy, it would have been awesome.

  83. jeffmcm says:


  84. mutinyco says:

    Anghus, but then it wouldn’t have been about the death of humanity. And that’s bolder to me.

  85. Lota says:

    I cannot put my finger on why I hated AI so much. It really upset me…maybe because none of the humans had humanity or sense or both. No salvation. I only have to like or admire one character. nada for this movie.

  86. jeffmcm says:

    Sounds like you couldn’t take the robots as ‘characters’?
    I had a similar problem with Wall-E. How can robots fall in love?!?

  87. Blackcloud says:

    You can maybe buy it with Wall-E, since he’s watched that video so often it may have corrupted his programming. But otherwise, yeah, the whole anthropomorphizing of the robots doesn’t really work so well with him and Eve. Still, that didn’t bug me nearly as much as the fact that the humans on that ship had no plants, yet still had air to breathe and food to eat. WTF was up with that?

  88. leahnz says:

    anthropomorphication is a bitch (try saying that word ten times fast after a few lemon drops) – i must admit when eve began to laugh at wall-e after being all ‘badass laser bot’ i had a very curmudeonly ‘oh brother, cursed anthropomorphication!’ moment but that soon melted away in the delight of it all. the humans, not so much with the delight

  89. The Big Perm says:

    IO, didn’t you say that people are routinely shot where you come from? Why can’t you be one of them?

  90. Lota says:

    I actually couldn;t take the cruelty to the robots in AI. It was nauseating.
    Geppetto loved Pinocchio, hence the human had some redemption amongst all the inhumane sickos in Pinocchio (and there were many).
    had there been one Geppetto in AI I could have borne the suffering and the cruelty.

  91. Lota says:

    I saw Wall-e as a kids movie where real problems beyond emotions are not explored much. AN adult could find a dozen serious plot holes but it was meant for kids so I didn’t probe beyond the face of an enjoyable cinematic animated experience.
    AI was a different “fish out of water” story. It was no Kiki’s delivery service.
    Being a robot in AI was more like a fish out of water who kept being dipped in the water then left to almost dry out again completely with the water just slightly out of reach where the humans with a nudge could have helped and didn’t.

  92. leahnz says:

    ‘I actually couldn;t take the cruelty to the robots in AI. It was nauseating.’
    same, here , lota. slice and dice people all you want but don’t be mean to robots or animals, you heartless bastards!

  93. THX5334 says:

    AI was simply the most beautifully depressing movie I have ever seen.
    Just melancholy all the way through.
    I still am unclear on what Kubrick’s intent or theme or idea he was trying to express that was motivating him for so many years to develop this film.

  94. Blackcloud says:

    AI and Pinocchio give different glosses to the relationship of creator to creation. Geppeto loves his creation/child. He is a benevolent, caring God. The humans in AI are ambivalent at best, and at their worst as you describe, especially towards those robots most like them. The AI humans are a cruel, unforgiving God. The Old Testament God to Geppeto’s New Testament God. Or I could just be pulling stuff out of thin air.

  95. mutinyco says:

    Kubrick’s intentions were multilayered. However, the conclusion defines it as a metaphor for humanity’s inability to grow up and accept its own inevitable mortality.

  96. Lota says:

    It was like I was reliving seeing as a youngster the horror of THE MAD ROOM on Bad-Movie-cableTV reruns in the 80s, when Stella Stevens spikes the dog with her swinging pickaxe thingy and it yelps then gives up. I felt the same nausea as robot David being abandoned.
    Of course I don;t feel that way about all robots. Ash was a problem in ALIEN, Hal in 2001, and the robot in SATURN 3, who very kindly removed the glass chard from farrah Fawcett’s eye, yet left the log in his own to later go on a murderous obsession that I didn;t appreciate much.
    I wouldn’t even go as far as to say benevolent God/cold God as much as the humans in AI couldn’t even admit they made mistakes, then couldn’t be bothered to try to correct them or minimize their negative impact. But they are playing god at the same time.
    Frankenstein is one of my favorite books for that reason.

  97. “had ai ended with the kid stuck underwater for all eternity begging for the blue fairy, it would have been awesome”
    This became kind of the knee-jerk criticism of the film at the time, but I think mutinyco captures the point well. It took some time for me to come around to it, maybe due to the typical post-adolescent interest in something approaching nihilism. But I think the existing ending resonates more as a commentary in the spirit of Kubrick’s great works.

  98. jeffmcm says:

    Cruelty to robots in A.I. is to Lota as cruelty to pigs and dogs in Babe 2 was for me – a deal-breaker.

  99. leahnz says:

    interesting biblical take on AI, blackcloud.
    for me, AI as a melancholy mess, a terrible missed opportunity; it’s almost as if spielberg set out to build something beautiful and profound only to intentionally dismantle and subvert it as the movie lurches along with all the shifts in tone and structural problems, plus the story is muddled and at times undermined by the cloying sentimentality that can bleed through in spielberg’s work. it seems to me a clear case of overreaching, biting off more than you can chew and not being able to pull it all together to weave the threads into a coherent tapestry with a clear picture or design, so instead of achieving a brilliant work of art you end up with a colorful but chaotic mish-mash of loose threads haphazardly tied together…sort of interesting to look at and beautiful to behold in places but ultimately too frustrating and unsatisfying to hang on the wall.
    (osment’s touching perf is infused with such innocence and longing, though, he alone holds the movie together for me, a lot of responsibility on one wee boy’s shoulders)

  100. Joe Leydon says:

    As I have posted before: I think the ending of A.I. is designed to suggest that humanity — that is, the sum total of those qualities that we associate with being human, that define being human — will survive even after humans are gone.

  101. Greetings from Austin/SXSW! Not having that great of a time this year but that’s no fault of the fest. Just saw “Observe and Report” and it’s fucking AMAZING. I honestly have never seen anything quite like it.
    Funny, gross, violent, sad….just a really entertaining, original film. I guess I *have* seen stuff like it and that’s “Eastbound and Down” on HBO which is the show Jody Hill does. I cannot wait for this to hit theaters….people are going to either go nuts for it and just destroy it because it’s so out there.
    Other great stuff…
    Kris Swanberg’s “It Was Great But I Was Ready to Come Home”
    “The Yes Men Fix the World”
    a sneak of Linklaters “Me and Orson Welles” which I was so-so on but it won me over in the end
    “Sin Nombre”

  102. Joe Leydon says:

    Damn. I wish I would have known about the Me and Orson Welles sneak.
    BTW, Don: There’s a throwaway line in Observe and Report that I bet a lot of critics, pro and con, will wind up quoting: “I thought it was going to be funny, but it’s really kind of sad.” Know what I’m talking about?

  103. ployp says:

    Great comparison between Pinocchio and A.I., Blackcloud!

  104. “So how many people plan on watching Alexander T L on demand? I’m waiting until someone brings cheese and fruit.”
    GO WATCH THREE BLIND MICE INSTEAD. Sorry for the yelling, but that movie is so many different kinds of excellent. You will literally fall head over heels in love with Gracie Otto while you’re at it.
    In regards to INLAND EMPIRE – sorry, really wanted to throw this in but only just got around to joining the fray – I don’t see it so much as a movie, but as a piece of art. Consider it a work of performance art or some much and forget all your ideas (as hard as it may be) of what a “movie” needs to be. Consider individual scenes as strokes of Lynch’s brush and so forth and that the final piece is a piece of art representing the fragile nature of the mind.
    …or that’s how I look at it.
    Loved every Lynch film apart from Dune though so perhaps I’m just trying to see things that aren’t there? I dunno. I was terrified during long portions of that movie. Scarier than any horror movie released that year (that face sequence!)

  105. Ooh, okay, so I know I am perhaps in the minority in regards to Gwyneth Paltrow, but I think that gal is all sorts of great. Further proof was this quote about Joaquin Phoenix:
    “What advice would I give to Joaquin? Hmmm…maybe to go live in the projects for a few years to get some authenticity, maybe.”
    Absolutely amazing, no?

  106. David Poland says:

    Thank you all for rising above and making this an interesting comment section today.

  107. Crow T Robot says:

    AI is magnificent. Still the best thing Spielberg has done in the past decade.
    It begins with humans creating a boy robot to comfort a real woman… and ends with robots creating a real woman to comfort the boy robot.
    The genius of that.

  108. LexG says:

    For those who saw OBSERVE AND REPORT, can I please get an ANNA FARIS CHARM-O-METER RANKING, please?
    ANNA FARIS is fairly close to my DREAM WOMAN.
    Is she a 9/10, 10/10, 11/10 on the LEXOMETER in it?

  109. LexG says:

    And can I sheepishly ask a question about AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
    I barely dare ask the question, innocuous as it is, because I love Spielberg, he’s one of my top directors ever, JAWS is practically my STAR WARS, I love Indy, ET, Minority Report, WOTW, the guy is an IDOL. And he’s one of those Hollywood untouchables like Clooney, Oprah and Weinstein where you don’t even wanna go public doubting his awesomeness.
    But has there ever been an objective ruling on just *HOW* much of AI was indeed Kubrick?
    Yeah, I know the legend at the time was this was some 50/50 Kubrick/Spielberg dream project that they were gonna do together and had planned out…
    But how much of that was actually PR, or at-the-time over-reverence for Kubrick?
    Again, I like the movie A LOT and love Spielberg’s work on it; I’ve just always had this nagging cynicism that master recluse Kubrick could’ve kinda mentioned it in passing as some sorta/kinda/maybe possible one-day project to SS… or went seeking his advice on technical issues, and somehow through modern film lore it’s become this bipartisan dream project that got cruelly stunted by Kubrick’s untimely passing.
    (Runs and hides.)

  110. ployp says:

    Lex, I think that that’s a perfectly legitimate question. I only saw A.I. once and can’t really remember what I thought of it. Osment was great though. I respect Mr. Spielberg and think he’s a great director, but he’s not exactly my idol. I try not to like any directors/actors too much because, I find, that they will disappoint me sooner or later. The one exception is perhaps Tim Burton.

  111. Lota says:

    Crow I agree that there is genius in that but to get there I was subjected to unfair tortured and I object to that.
    This is why I hate Lars von Trier’s movies. Torture.
    I want to be entertained or have my thoughts provoked not undergo/see torture and shame.

  112. movieman says:

    I love my share of Terry Gilliam films, too, but this relentless hyping of Gilliam while fantasizing about ways he could have magically “fixed” everything from Barry Levinson’s insufferable “Toys” to “Watchmen” is getting out of hand.
    From the tone of these comments, you’d think that any movie EVER MADE would have somehow been better if Gillliam had directed it. (How about “E.T.”? “Citizen Kane” perhaps?)
    Personally–and it makes me inordinately sad to say this–
    I think Gilliam has pretty much lost “it.”
    Have you seen his last couple of movies?
    “The Brothers Grimm”? “Tideland”??
    And I don’t hold out much hope for his latest patched-together-like-Frankenstein’s-monster crazy quilt of a movie either.
    I adore “A.I.,” “Babe: Pig in the City” and thought “Inland Empire” was a fascinating objet d’art that’s really no more inscrutable than, say, Tony Gilroy’s “Duplicity.” (After “The International” and now this, I’m beginning to wonder if Clive Owen is getting paid in dollars, pounds or frequent flyer miles.)
    Has “Me and Orson Welles” found a distributer yet? That was one of my favorite movies in Toronto last fall, and I fully expected someone like Sony Classics or Miramax to step up to the plate by festival’s end. It’s now six months later and it doesn’t look any closer to opening in theaters.
    Memo to Lex:
    Get ready to continue your tempestuous love affair with Kristen Stewart when “Adventureland” opens next month. Terrific performance; mostly terrific movie.

  113. THX5334 says:

    Damn Lex,
    If you talk to all women the same way you talk to Lota, no wonder why you’re never getting any.
    That, and you exhibit absolutely no self confidence whatsoever. And who do you think chix would rather bang? The guy who likes himself and exudes confidence that leads to success and so it rubs off on others, or the guy who wines and cries about being lame and how depressing his life is?
    Dude, you could have Brad Pitt’s body, face and money and I gaurantee you would still be just as lonely as you are now with the kinda manic personality you exude here. Because yeah, Whiny, Narcacisstic, Victimizers who throw drunken pity parties really makes chicks want to pull of the thong and give you the goods.
    Then again, going by your posts on the other thread, I’m gonna say you’re blacked out right now, so it doesn’t really matter does it?
    Good morning everyone.

  114. hcat says:

    Movieman – Not suggesting Gilliam is a blanket fix for every movie, I agree his last competent film was 12 monkeys. It was that Toys would have been right in his comfort zone and reunite him with Williams who he had put to good use just a year before in Fisher King. Levinson clearly didn’t know what to do with his script and simply relied on the set design to sell the story. Williams and Wright were awful and all the interesting ideas were left dangling in the wind.
    And I agree a Gilliam Watchmen or Harry Potter would have been awful, but when he was great (as he was in the late 80s and early 90s) he was one of the best.

  115. The Big Perm says:

    They may have been robots in AI, but they were robots with feelings. It wasn’t like someone kicked one of those rolling robots that looks like a rat in Star Wars.
    In regards to movieman…I agree, Gilliam gets so much love and I don’t get it. I mean, I like that he’s a visionary and all, but almost every one of his movies is a huge mess. I think he gets a lot of geek street cred just because he made Time Bandits (when they were a little younger) and then Brazil (which they got to see in college).
    Let me direct a Gilliam film…have actors overact in a cartoonish way on great sets and shoot it with a fish eye lens. Now I directed a Gilliam movie!

  116. Martin S says:

    Jeff – If it was some Henson Studios person, they have done a meticulous job of replicating DM’s writing style and attitude.
    Exactly. The bullet-point is identical. Maybe someone’s doing it for him.
    Re: Libel. Dave could make a case when someone states they are forwarding the emails in an attempt to hurt his business. The intention stated is beyond speaking on this blog.
    Re: AI. Spielberg was adamant that the ending was Kubrick’s and not his. That he shot what was already written. Only Kubrick’s estate and “the boxes” would know.
    What always pissed me off about AI was the thought all these people around Kubrick just stood aside and let this guy think people gave a shit about Pinocchio outside of Disney. They don’t and never have.

  117. Joe Leydon says:

    Lex: This is what Spielberg told me years ago while promoting Minority Report:
    “People pretend to think they know Stanley Kubrick, and think they know me, when most of them don’t know either of us. And what’s really funny about that is, all the parts of A.I. that people assume were Stanley’s were mine. And all the parts of A.I. that people accuse me of sweetening and softening and sentimentalizing were all Stanley’s. The teddy bear was Stanley’s. The whole last 20 minutes of the movie was completely Stanley’s. The whole first 35, 40 minutes of the film

  118. mutinyco says:

    How could A.I. be about human qualities surviving humanity, if the last remaining direct link to humanity dies at the end? It’s the death of humanity.
    And Crow, his mother isn’t real at the end. The whole final sequence is programmed into David’s head by the supermachines. They understood that he was built to always have the mentality of a child, would never understand any different, and would “love” his mother until the end. So they programmed him to have a final “experience” where he sees his mother again and he’s a “real boy,” and the fade out is really his termination.
    As Jan Harlan puts it on the DVD — he wanted to be human, and by dying at the end, he was now just like humans.

  119. Lota says:

    Speak for yourself Lex, I don’t think humanity is garbage, or life is futile. And robots, if we make them in our image as we do, they will have feelings too and be just as real as people eventually, so there is no reason to abuse them and make them our next slaves. That is why I couldn’t take AI torture.
    Giving up and letting the bullies rule, is what makes humanity awful, nothing else.
    So your attitude is a major reason why this world isn’t as effective and beneficent as it can be.
    So go do something positive with yourself or do yourself in and STFU if you’re going to keep whining.
    Volunteer for the red cross in SoCal and learn CPR and survival training and knock off about 50 pounds–everytime there is a fire, earthquake etc they are needed and you can be a standby worker.
    You might meet a woman you pathetic whiner.

  120. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah the ending to AI is really not all that sweet as everyone says it is. Humanity is dead and the sad robot has one last dream of his mother, and then he dies, and the teddy bear is left all alone. How is that a sappy sweet ending?

  121. Joe Leydon says:

    Mutiny, you little punk, you better not be disagreeing with me while that motherfucker Poland isn’t around to cover your sorry ass. In fact, I’ve got a good mind to take my foot and shove it up…
    Oh, hi, David. Enjoying your trip? Oh, yes, we’re all playing nice during your absence. No, Lex isn’t writing about his penis. Yes, IO is taking his meds. It’s all good. Don’t worry. Have fun. Give my regards to Mrs. Cleaver.

  122. The Big Perm says:

    When Poland gets back I’m kicking his ass.

  123. mutinyco says:

    Joe, honestly now. Which do you prefer eating? Pussy? Or Texas barbeque at SXSW?

  124. Joe Leydon says:

    Pussy with barbeque sauce. And a nice merlot.

  125. hcat says:

    Joe you’re such a heathen, anyone with class knows cunnilingus requires a slightly chilled white or Pinot. Merlot is reserved for felching and toe licking.

  126. movieman says:

    Expanding on my previous “Adventureland” comments:
    My only real beef with the film is that Mottola doesn’t get nearly enough western PA flava out of his setting. It could just as easily have been set in New Jersey. (As a northeastern Ohio resident, I’m intimately familiar with Pittsburgh’s Kennywood Park where much of the film was shot.)
    And as much as I dig Ryan Reynolds, I never quite believed him as a (late) twentysomething failed musician still working as an amusement park handyman and having (adulterous) trysts with teenaged coworkers in his mother’s basement. Paul Schneider would have killed in that role.
    While I’m not expecting “Adventureland” to burn up the box office charts (a $25-million ceiling seems about right), it should have a long shelf life on dvd. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it elevated to minor cult status in 25 years or so, just like some of the better ’80s John Hughes flicks.
    Re: “Duplicity.” Could someone please explain to me what the hell is going on in this movie? On the basis of this and “Michael Clayton,” Tony Gilroy seems as infatuated with non-linear storytelling as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, but to far lesser effect. As cool as it was to see Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson reunited from last year’s “John Adams” miniseries, neither is given much to do here. And as pleased as I was to see Mr. Glum Clive Owen lighten up a bit, nobody will ever convince me that he was Gilroy and Roberts’ first choice (George Clooney might not have have been able to make this a good film, but I’m betting he would have made it less of a chore to sit through). After “The International” and now this, I’m beginning to wonder if Owen gets paid by the pound, the dollar or with frequent flyer miles. The dude must get his passport stamped more often than Trafalgar tour guides.
    Todd McCarthy’s rave in Variety (he actually compared it to Lubitsch for god’s sake!) was more stunning than anything onscreen.

  127. Joe Leydon says:

    Hcat: And breast sucking. Don’t forget breast sucking.

  128. movieman says:

    I think I just walked in on a deleted scene from John Waters’ “A Dirty Shame.” Merlot will never taste the same again.

  129. Crow T Robot says:

    A very cool Spielberg quote there, Joe. You’re like an actual journalist or something… in addition to being a lewd SOB. 🙂
    Mutiny — I’m confused now, I thought they cloned the mother back to life with the lock of hair. She was living and breathing. Of course, it wasn’t REALLY her but that was the point, right? You’re saying the house was all a dream? That the Kingsley-robot was a liar when he said all that exposition?
    I agree that the ambiguous ending, where we see the fake boy get his fake dream fake fulfilled, is more dark and disturbing than the ending a lot of people thought was there.
    Anyway, here’s shout-out to the mega-budget art house films of the last ten years… like AI, Fight Club, The Aviator and Watchmen… films (real films!) that confused audiences with their pristine production values and weird storylines and lost tons of studio cash all in the name of keeping it real.

  130. movieman says:

    Hey, Joe-
    “Witch Mountain Redux” was mostly a big snooze for me.
    I’m still not completely sold on Mr. Rock either.
    Liked him in “Southland Tales,” but he hasn’t convinced me that he’s the second coming of Schwarzenegger yet.
    Of course, I thought the ’70s “WM”‘s were tepid gruel, too.
    P.S.= Am I the only one who would’ve preferred to see Sean William Scott or Seth Rogen opposite Paul Rudd in “I Love You, Man”?
    There’s just something about Jason Segal that rubs me the wrong way.
    I still enjoyed the movie, though, even if “Role Models” was superior Rudd/Apatow-ian fare.

  131. mutinyco says:

    Crow… No, the mother wasn’t cloned. It was all a programmed “dream” in his head.
    But that again plays into themes dealing with physical experience vs. mental experience. Which is real? Is life only a direct result of biological reproduction? Or is life simply a machine that uses and emits energy? Is it, I think therefore I am?… Is David’s conscious life experience less an experience because he’s a robot instead of a human?…

  132. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think there’s any evidence in the movie to suggest that she wasn’t cloned. I think Mutiny is overreading that portion.
    Let’s just say the future-robots used magic to bring her back to life, because that’s ultimately what it boiled down to, and that the mechanism of the deed is less important than the effect it has on Roboboy.

  133. mutinyco says:

    Me thinks Jeff needs to watch it again.
    Notice the cross-processed colors that signify the whole episode is a fantasy? Did they rebuild the house? Did David become a real boy and dream like the narrator says? Is that physically possible? How do you turn a robot into a human?
    If none of these pieces are real, then there’s no reason to think his mother is real. Watch it again. The supermachines understand that David is functionally incapable of understanding. He’s programmed to be a child. He’s “put to sleep” at the end.

  134. hcat says:

    I thought she was cloned as well but that they couldn’t keep the clone alive for more than a day. But Mutiny’s take makes more sense and adds some depth to it. I’m going to have to add this to the queue.
    and I will join Crow’s toast to the big budget art films. And would like to throw Thin Red Line in there with them. (Still waiting for some six hour cut of that film on dvd)

  135. jeffmcm says:

    Mutiny, the cross-processed colors only last for a few shots, not the entire segment. There’s no reason to think they couldn’t rebuild the house (they’ve demonstrated they have complete access to David’s complete memory files).
    The conceptual leap that you’re proposing makes the movie unnecessarily complicated while taking the movie at face value, while admittedly a little silly, is the cleaner and more elegant solution. I mean, why write all that nonsense dialogue about ‘we have discovered a way to bring back mind-soul units through time tunnels but we can only do it once’ if they didn’t actually mean it?
    And I hope you will forgive me if your past track record on such extrapolations does not inspire much confidence.

  136. mutinyco says:

    The brilliance is that the narrator feeds the audience the same myth that David is fed, thereby showing how we use myths to create false hopes and understandings (religion) regarding death.
    However, the audience is also shown objective reality. And the reality of the sequence is that it’s a programmed dream and David is put to sleep at the end.
    Again: Physical experience vs. mental experience. David mentally experiences the last day with his mother. And, here, it’s saying there’s no difference between mental and physical experience. He’s a robot. And he gets his experience.

  137. jeffmcm says:

    Mutiny, I’m not disagreeing with you as to the ultimate meaning of the final sequence of the movie.
    As for the specific mechanisms, I’m going to stop myself now before I do too much head-beating against this particular wall.

  138. mutinyco says:

    You’re 100% wrong Jeff. I’ll leave it at that.

  139. hcat says:

    “I’d buy like seven of them and order them to look like all my favorite actresses.”
    The actresses you like are already plastic enough, the sex dolls would probably feel lifelike.

  140. jeffmcm says:

    Mutiny – I just told you that I agreed with you as to the meaning and subtexts of the movie, and then I told you that I don’t feel like having a pointless argument about specifics with you.
    That’s the point where, if you must have the last word, the appropriate response is “Agree to disagree”. Not “You’re 100% wrong”, especially when at most, since I just said we agree about the major points, I couldn’t be more than 25% wrong.

  141. mutinyco says:

    Yes, we agree on the thematics of the scene. But it seems to me that the thematics can only be arrived at once you’ve correctly read the dramatics.
    We had a similar argument over The Sopranos. I was offering a straightforward dramatic reading of what the shots offered. But you disregarded with that because you were more interested in the meaning, and to this day I’m still confused as to whether you agreed with the dramatics (which were subsequently backed-up by somebody doing a shot-for-shot analysis).
    My point is, you start with the dramatics. A scene is about drama not theme. Theme is a secondary level.
    I believe you’re a big fan of David Cronenberg’s work. You should watch my video with him. This is exactly what he says. When he’s directing a film, he’s unconcerned with themes — he’s busy telling the story and working with the actors and making sure the camera is in the right place. It’s only after the movie’s complete than he analyzes his work.
    You need to start with the functional drama. Then move onto theme.

  142. jeffmcm says:

    I disagree about everything (6 or 7 discrete points) that you just said.

  143. mutinyco says:

    Then, as you said above, we can agree to disagree.

  144. jeffmcm says:

    Although just to clarify, I did not agree with what you call ‘the dramatics’ of your Sopranos analysis, because my point all along in that discussion was that a shot-by-shot approach wasn’t taking into account the larger context of the series as a whole and what the scene meant within that context.

  145. Crow T Robot says:

    I’m with jeffmcm. There was a fantasy element to that last scene. And that’s the important thing. In a way it WAS a dream. Whether or not it was hardware or software based, who cares?
    I think that’s one of the differences between the geek sensibility and traditional cinephile sensibility… one emphasizes plot, the other story.
    Example: Walking out of Watchmen, the gal I saw it with was like, “What’s the deal with Rorschach’s mask? They never explained it.”
    I say, “Well, the way you react to his world view tells you a bit about yourself, like the test.”
    And she’s like: “No, you idiot, why did the ink move like it did?”

  146. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks Crow.
    That was my point: EITHER the future-robots have created an artificial physical construct for David to have his last day in, OR it’s an artificial mental construct to serve the exact same purpose. It’s like arguing whether the Enterprise should use dilithium or trilithium in its engines – either way, the results are the same.

  147. Blackcloud says:

    I’m glad I’m not a wine drinker.
    ployp and leah, thanks for the kind words about my interpretive speculation re: A.I. and Pinocchio.

  148. mutinyco says:

    It does matter though. The director has to know what he’s directing. You don’t direct ambiguity — you direct an actual episode, you simply present it ambiguously.
    There is no reason to believe on any physical or biological level that the mother was brought back to life or that David is a real boy. These are functional, physical impossibilities.
    Therefore, the experience was a mental experience. Therefore, it was programmed.
    You can argue that thematically, the point is that it makes no ultimate difference whether an experience is physical or mental. Fine.
    But the scene itself actually has to be one or the other. The scene itself, dramatically, is a series of actions and motivations. And that is something unto itself.

  149. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, I’m sure Spielberg knew what he was directing and what was in the script. And since you agree that it doesn’t matter for thematic purposes, then I don’t see why we’re arguing about it. It matters as much as what’s the poison in the poison apple in Snow White, or how King Kong could grow so large without being crushed under his own mass.
    And you seem to be forgetting that this is a sci-fi fantasy – it’s as reasonable, within the genre, to expect that super-evolved robots could implant an experience into a thousand-year-old robot boy, as they could clone somebody. These are all physically impossible things.
    You’re also ignoring the thematically relevant element of the hair that Teddy collects. If it’s a mental experience, then the future-robots don’t need it, and there’s no purpose to the story beat where they say that they can’t bring back David’s mother until Teddy chimes in.

  150. mutinyco says:

    1) Teddy remembering the hair is what gives the supermachines the idea to proceed with the finale. It’s dramatic motivation not thematic.
    2) Sci-fi fantasy or not, there are still physical and biological realities. The movie itself, for the most part, though told from the POV of a fairy tale, follows rules and probabilities. There’s nothing else in the film that, while stylized and fantastical, seems to defy possibility. But cloning a woman from a strand of hair — and having her already be not just middle-aged but fully cognizant of who and where she is, is not probable. You could clone her DNA, but she’d still have to be born and grow up, and her life experiences would be completely different. As well, you can’t turn a machine (David) into flesh and blood. No matter whether this is a fantasy or not, the rules previously setup for this movie to not allow for these outcomes.
    This is all pretty much Drama 101.

  151. jeffmcm says:

    1) Teddy only remembers the hair after the lead future-robot says ‘we could clone her if we had some hair or something but we don’t’. It’s sequential in that manner, not the other way around.
    2) Not really. Cloning a fully-grown woman with memories is _more_ impossible, and it strains credulity, but I take it as a necessary story device, no big deal.
    3) What exactly is ‘Drama 101’? When in doubt, condescend?

  152. jeffmcm says:

    Says the guy who was up until 5:30 drunkenly whining about how much he hates his life.

  153. mutinyco says:

    Thanks, Lex. Could be worse. We could be talking about boners. Or eating pussy with barbeque sauce and wine.
    I popped in my DVD and went through the finale. I stand by my interpretation. It’s not intended as physical reality.
    1) Cross-processing the moment he first opens his eyes.
    2) Blue Fairy appears to him. Is she physically real? No. They didn’t build her. Supermachines are watching a hologram.
    3) BF tells David he can visit people from his past any time he wishes. How would they do that? They’d program him. Why could he visit other people but not his mother?
    4) Teddy appears on cue when BF talks about physical samples of Monica. Since we already agree this scene isn’t physical reality (cross-processing, BF, etc.), shouldn’t we assume that Teddy’s experiences were downloaded by the supermachines as well — so THEY know about the hair.
    5) When the supermachine has his final talk with David, the whole point is that David doesn’t understand. All of the further narration is subtext — saying one thing, but suggesting another.
    6) As soon as David demands his mother be brought back, suddenly, the night turns to day and she’s there in bed waiting for him. There’s no time delay from David demanding she be brought back only for one day and the supermachines cloning her.
    7) Monica has no recollection of anybody other than David, not her husband or real son. David paints her pictures, but, as the narrator says: “…BUT DAVID’S JOURNEY HOME BELONGED ONLY TO HIM.” (hint)
    8) David is crying at the end. He’s crying. Like I said, you cannot turn a robot into a real human. Machine. Biological entity. No DNA, no biological life.
    Therefore, this experience is not physical reality. It’s a programmed finale to David’s existence. That’s the whole point: A robot is not alive in the biological sense, but it is alive in that it has consciousness. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT.
    His love is real, but he is not.

  154. leahnz says:

    i don’t want to get into the middle of anything here but directors absolutely can and often do direct ambiguously without THE TRUTH in mind during a shoot, happy to present a situation with more than one possible meaning or resolution without a definitive solution in mind (i won’t try to rattle off a list of examples because i can’t be bothered, but lynch has been discussed here and he openly admits to it, and recently i heard del toro talk about this exact thing re: the ambiguity of ‘pan’s labyrinth’ and how differing interpretations of the fantasy elements in the story are correct and there is no ‘true’ interpretation). in my opinion the final act of AI is left open to interpretation intentionally, and spielberg might have had david’s ‘true’ fate in mind when he shot the final scenes but not necessarily. (unless i’ve misunderstood the bone of contention here, in which case, never mind)
    (blackcloud, i forgot to mention the ‘pinocchio’ portion of your old/new testament take on the stories in my comment, so i’m glad you knew what i meant!)
    ‘”I’d buy like seven of them and order them to look like all my favorite actresses.”
    The actresses you like are already plastic enough, the sex dolls would probably feel lifelike.’
    i got a good laugh from that, hcat
    and re: joe’s wicked spielberg quote:
    “People pretend to think they know Stanley Kubrick, and think they know me, when most of them don’t know either of us. And what’s really funny about that is, all the parts of A.I. that people assume were Stanley’s were mine. And all the parts of A.I. that people accuse me of sweetening and softening and sentimentalizing were all Stanley’s. The teddy bear was Stanley’s. The whole last 20 minutes of the movie was completely Stanley’s. The whole first 35, 40 minutes of the film

  155. jeffmcm says:

    Now you’re conflating and confusing narrative ‘reality’ with thematic reality, and building a construct that’s significantly – and needlessly – more complex than the alternative. Occam’s Razor.
    I agree to disagree.

  156. jeffmcm says:

    That was to Mutiny, not Leah.

  157. mutinyco says:

    Occam’s would suggest that the programming is correct. It’s the simplest explanation.
    Agree to disagree.

  158. Noah says:

    I just want to say thanks to Jeff and Mutiny for having an engaging and intelligent conversation about a smart movie. My opinion on the ending lines up more with Mutiny, but I think both of you have very interesting and valid points. The only thing I would add is that for the supermachines, the motivation would be to “meet their makers” so to speak; in other words, these robots were clearly evolved from other robots and hence, never met human beings. The religious undertones are fascinating; the supermachines searching for their creator the way human beings search for God. When Teddy produces that piece of hair, he is confirming the existence of a “creator” to these supermachines.
    But anyway, that’s just my interpretation. I think it’s pretty clear that David’s mother wasn’t actually cloned because if she was, why would there be that ridiculous “1 day” rule, especially since time is an entirely human construct. What is a “day” to a robot? That 1 day to David would be as long or as short as his time spent frozen underwater staring at the Blue Fairy.
    Anyway, again, I agree with Mutiny’s interpretation, but I loved reading your discussion about this oft-forgotten, beautiful and underrated movie.

  159. jeffmcm says:

    ‘Programming’ is simpler in reality. Within the movie, which is what we’re talking about, it’s simpler to take the narrative at face value.
    In Vertigo, do we actually think it’s plausible that the murder plot could have been as convoluted as impractical as it is? or in Jurassic Park, that the sheer impossibility of cloning dinosaurs could proceed? No. But within the narratives, we accept both, because they’re just plot devices.

  160. jeffmcm says:

    I agree that the ‘1 day’ rule is ridiculous – but it’s also poetic, which is the point.

  161. mutinyco says:

    Thanks, Noah.
    There are two face values, though. The visual face value. And the narrative face value. And I’d argue, in this case, they’re showing/telling us two different things.
    PS- I never bought Vertigo. The movie’s never worked for me dramatically or emotionally, regardless of its intriguing themes.

  162. mutinyco says:

    By ‘narrative’ I meant narration… (just to clarify)

  163. jeffmcm says:

    re: narration, that’s where we differ. And I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from the idea that the narration and visuals are acting divergently from one another.
    And if you ‘never bought Vertigo’, that kinds of provides the appropriate punctuation to this discussion. It bored me silly the first time I saw it. Then when I figured out what it was doing, it slowly (after a couple more viewings) snapped into place and I think it’s Hitchcock’s greatest masterpiece. Even if, from a common-sense perspective, it’s very illogical.

  164. jeffmcm says:

    Just to be fair, here’s a flip-side example:
    When I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I had a hard time really caring about the bulk of what was going on inside Jim Carrey’s head – why should any of it ‘matter’ given that there’s the entire external narrative going on that will be barely affected by his nightmares and dreamscapes?
    That was my first viewing reaction, anyway.

  165. mutinyco says:

    The reason they’re divergent is because David (and as he’s the audience’s surrogate, humanity) doesn’t understand. Don’t we always create sugar-coated lies to tell children because we feel the reality is too harsh? Isn’t that why we create religion with Heaven? Because we can’t accept death?…
    Yeah, for me, I’ve just never been able to get past Vertigo’s plotting. Like I said, ideas are interesting. But the vehicle itself doesn’t drive for me.

  166. Lota says:

    I buy Vertigo because I like it.
    Acceptance has alot to do with liking a movie since most have plot holes or at least one far-fetched premise.
    This is why I brought up Pinocchio in the first place in the thread re. AI (with my reasons above).
    Understanding the ending or the possibilities didn’t make me like it more.

  167. jeffmcm says:

    Re: A.I., I don’t see how visual/narration divergence makes that point, when the end scene is already ironic and dissonant. Adding another layer on top of that seems needless (like I said).
    Re: Vertigo, your loss.

  168. mutinyco says:

    1) Whatever.
    2) Whatever.
    I think we’ve taken this conversation to the end of its One Day. Good night.

  169. jeffmcm says:


  170. frankbooth says:

    “Yeah, for me, I’ve just never been able to get past Vertigo’s plotting. Like I said, ideas are interesting. But the vehicle itself doesn’t drive for me.”
    Have you never lost someone and obsessed over it, Mutiny?

  171. hcat says:

    First, I’d have to say Mutiny’s take is the winning more solid interpretation. Can’t wait to see this again though I might skip through the flesh fair to the end.
    Second, Jeff the inner workings of Joel’s mind in Sunshine have everything to do with the outside narrative. His actions in the real world are shaped by the fears and experiences he holds in his psyche. It was a brillant device to explain the inner motivations that often sabatoge relationships. Freakin’ love that movie.

  172. IOIOIOI says:

    Let me throw this in here: I love Bonfire of the Vanities and the ending of AI is super fun!

  173. Joe Leydon says:

    I love the fact that we’re still discussing — with, relatively speaking, civility — a movie eight years after its release.
    On the other hand: Movieman, shut your mouth and know your role. You better start smelling what the Rock is cooking, or I’ll introduce you to the most electrifying move in sports entertainment today.
    Gee, maybe I went to too many Wrestlemanias…

  174. hcat says:

    IOIO – had you read the book previous to seeing Bonfire? I love the book but thought the movie was very weak and had only a shadow of the books genius. Perhaps going into it cold would have made it a better experience.
    I would love to see what Gilliam could have done with the material. (i kid, i kid)

  175. Crow T Robot says:

    Mutiny, your points are very well put. You’ve just about got me convinced and ready to concede…
    The ONLY problem is that your explanation would make the “Teddy has the hair” and “Kingsley-Robot exposition” moments (my favorite and least favorite scenes in the movie) generally pointless to the story.
    If the robots are going to lie to the kid to fulfill his wish, they don’t need to steep it in scientific mumbo jumbo he can’t understand. And the audience doesn’t need to be fooled either.
    I will agree, the difference in interpretation may change the themes up a bit. So maybe this is a silly chat worth having… at least for people who liked the film.

Quote Unquotesee all »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon