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David Poland

By David Poland

Who's Not Watching The….

Have we ever had a movie that has inspired such a load of whining from the fillmakers?
First, it was the completely disingenuous, absurd public letters from two of the producers. Then there was the “it didn’t do as much as expected, but it’s because it’s R rated and it’s long and yadda yadda yadda… blame the box office guessers” whine. Now, a public letter from David Hayter begging geeks to show up for weekend two. I mean…
I have kept my powder dry since Sunday, not wanting to throw reality on an open bonfire. Even on the G4 appearance, I felt no need to slice or dice. But wah wah wah wah wah… if they are going to keep whining publicly, I feel compelled to put them to be without supper.
You want to know how Watchmen is going to do next weekend?
As of day 6, Watchmen is $25 million behind 300. 300 dropped 54% in Weekend Two. If a similar drop occurs, Watchmen will be just $32 million behind 300 after Weekend Two. Of course, at this point, if Watchmen did $180 million domestic, WB would be thrilled.
Here are the weekdays. Watchmen has done better weekdays than any movie yet this year, so it seems terribly unfair to compare the weekdays to summer comic book movies. But here is 300 vs Watchmen, heads up.
You tell me.

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99 Responses to “Who's Not Watching The….”

  1. Lota says:

    wow. on a day to day, that’s ~ half per gross two years ago on those weekdays. Likely dead before spring break for most people. Too bad in a way…I didn’t find Watchmen as loathesome as 300, but David Hayter can hardly think a letter like that inspires confidence.
    People either like it or they don’t.

  2. Bodhizefa says:

    The filmmakers decided to film one of the least commercially appealing comics of all-time and now they’re crying about how much money they’re not making? It’s ridiculous to me that Warner Bros. gave the filmmakers so much money for something that seemed like a niche product from the start. But now we have Hayter saying that studios will never let them film anything like this again if we don’t go to see it again and again? Is he joking?! The studios should have never financed something like this to begin with, much less should they ever do it AGAIN. If they could’ve come in with a budget closer to $60 million, this film would have made an awful lot more sense. But as it stands, there’s no way in the world anyone could ever justify spending so much money on the production of this film and then going out and spending another boatload on a marketing campaign that didn’t make a lick of sense to the common moviegoer.
    What an colossal bunch of crybabies this collection of filmmakers has been given that they were allowed to basically make an independent movie on a modern blockbuster budget. And the movie wasn’t even that good, too! I’m befuddled all around on this one.

  3. montrealkid says:

    Screw the numbers — David Hayter’s letter is a total embarrassment. One gets the feeling he’s worried that it’s going to be even longer than six years (his last filmed screenplay was X2) before execs will want to take a gamble on a script with his name on it.

  4. Wrecktum says:

    David Hayter is a fucking hero. You’re all hayters and should bow to the genius of Solid Snake. Meryl!

  5. Lota says:

    Well ????????? be damned. Watchmen isn’t a practice game, Calvin.
    and it’s “h8ters”.
    I only bow to Snake Plisken.

  6. winston smith says:

    Why are you comparing this to 300? And weren’t you whining you had to go to the all media? Boo fucking hoo.

  7. brack says:

    We get it David, you didn’t like the movie. I know it wasn’t Speed Racer, but c’mon. (just half joking, I actually did like Speed Racer, just not nearly as much as Watchmen).
    To comment on your G4 appearance, I’m someone who didn’t know much about the story, and had never read the book, and I absolutely loved Watchmen. I can’t think of a film outside of the 3D Zemeckis films that was made perfectly for IMAX. It probably tops my list as the best comic book movie I’ve ever seen (blew away The Dark Knight). I couldn’t believe nearly 3 hours went by.
    You not caring about the characters is not the same thing as the characters not being developed. There was plenty of that.

  8. Nick Rogers says:

    The final line of David Hayter’s letter underlines a disappointing flaw in David Hayter’s screenplay.

  9. lazarus says:

    My god, what a bunch of whiners! What’s the big deal about Hayter writing the letter? So it comes off a bit desperate. It also sounds very impassioned, and however cynical you may be about any possible ulterior motive, he’s right in that the failure of Watchmen has the potential to doom future risky projects of this ilk. I just don’t understand why the notion of an open letter to fans is so verboten.
    I just don’t see why there has to be all this bitter chastising, especially from Dave. Get over it already. Do you have any idea how bad the film could have been without Snyder’s tenacity? Do you? I’d love to be able to take people into an alternate reality where Paul Greengrass (or Terry Gilliam) royally fucks up this material, and then you’d all be eating a big shit sandwich.

  10. a_loco says:

    After viewing three Snyder films, I can truthfully say that I’d rather see a Gilliam failure than a Snyder success (And I don’t consider Watchmen to be a success).

  11. Machina de La Verdad says:

    Where do we begin?
    1- Have “we” ever had? What’s this “we” shit? You don’t make films, you simply critique them and then write long rants based on the pitifully small information you have access to wherein you claim to know more than the people who do make films.
    2- There was a public letter from Lloyd Levin. There was not a public letter from anyone else. That is ONE letter from one producer. You claim deftness with numbers, so start here.
    3- What filmmaker stated “blame the box office guessers?” You give yourself too much importance.
    4- Fix your fucking bed typo, man.
    5- Yes Mr. Hayter begs (okay impolores) people to come again for week two. This is not a whine. Indeed his letter, while naive, is not whiney at all. Your entire “whine” premise is false and without facts.
    Guests- slag MR. POLAND all you want for his irrational dislike, for hie Wellsian need to be taken seriously by publicists, or for his bad hygiene. All of these are valid. But better yet- attack his facts- he ain’t got many.
    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.

  12. LYT says:

    Not trying to compare myself to anyone working at this level, but…
    I’ve been in and worked on a movie or two. And every single day that movie is in the theaters (usually not more than seven days), I am begging everyone I know to go to it. Granted, said movies rarely have any marketing behind them, but I think my mindset would be the same if they did.
    P.S. – look for SILENT NIGHT, ZOMBIE NIGHT on DVD this holiday season. By two or three. Because I want to prove that LYT = ratings.
    So I don’t begrudge Hayter doing the same thing.

  13. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    This is as good a time as ever to point this out. I thought about it in the car today, and need to vent.
    Seriously; people gave me shit for BOX OFFICE PREDICTIONS? REALLY? I guessed. My empathy failed me, but these things happen all the time. It’s not science. It’s a feeling, and you gave me shit for my feeling being a bit off? Yeah. Right there. THE FUCKING MOON!
    Thataside; there’s nothing wrong with an impassioned plea. If you have a problem with it. SMOKE YOU. Why? THE LUNA BROTHERS. Go read THE SWORD. Go read GIRLS. Go read ULTRA: SEVEN DAYS. Those three comics can easily be made into movies, but this might not ever happen. If studios get all sour towards different comic properties. Which, really, let’s face the fucking facts: remake hell is not exactly working out that well for Hollywood. Comics and GENRE films are keeping everything going.
    If they all of a sudden get antsy about certain comic properties. We might as well mail Tom Rotham 4 dollars, and beg him to not make another Daredevil/FF. Unless he wants to make the Peyton Reed FF film.
    Nevertheless; Solid Snake has a point. If you miss the point like David Poland. You obviously have not visited a comic book store in a long while, and miss out on how much awesome shit is out there to turn into some great movies. If the properties are treated right in the SNYDER STYLE.
    Oh yeah: Machina de La Verdad is a bad motherfucker. I know I am a bad motherfucker, but that’s a bad motherfucker. Look out now Poland. YOU REAP WHAT YOU MOTHERFUCKING SOW!

  14. I really don’t give a damn about how much money WATCHMEN makes but I do give a damn about Poland attacking a picture he doesn’t get with all of the fervour of a Baptist trying to get people to drink the Kool-aid rather than the wine. All I know is that I sat in a theater and enjoyed the hell out of it and I couldn’t care less if anyone else did not.

  15. IOIOIOI says:

    He’s not ATTACKING Watchmen. He’s simply pointing out things, that need to be pointed out. You know, like he did with Iron Man, TDK, and just about any other fucking movie he does not like. This is how he fucking rolls. He’s an attacker. If you point it out to him: he attacks. If you call him on the carpet: he suspends you for reasons he breaks as he insults you in a public forum. It’s his new modus operandi. Let’s try not to confront him about it. It’s too funny.

  16. mysteryperfecta says:

    I think the letter is unbecoming. What, 50 million on marketing, and its come to this? How many dollars could Hayter possibly hope would come from this plea, even with unabated optimism? Do you even entertain for one second the notion that it could be enough to effect any future studio decision?

  17. mutinyco says:

    I read Hayter’s Wikipedia page, and according to that, he didn’t technically write the movie’s screenplay. His version was a modern updating (Greengrass’ take?), not the ’80s-set movie that was released. However, sections of his script were grafted into the finished take, so he was awarded credit.
    That said, and I’ve brought this up elsewhere, but it seems to me that Watchmen would’ve actually been more faithful to the original comic if it had been updated.
    I’ve neither read the book or seen the movie yet, so I’m not at liberty to criticize either. But, the book was originally intended as a protest against 1980s Cold War escalation, and the concept was to imagine what it might be like if super heroes actually existed in the real modern world (even if that world was an alternate version of reality). It was essentially a present-tense narrative.
    The movie, however, by being completely faithful and setting the story 20+ years ago, has taken away the whole narrative point: It was a commentary on the zeitgeist. By doing it this way, the movie has functionally turned the original’s intent on its head.
    So while it may be filled with lots of references and meta-references, creating a certain density, the overall point has shifted from satire to irony, from outrage to nihilism. And this is the result of changing the real-world present-tense to an artificial past: We’re looking at something in hindsight as opposed to staring it directly in the face.

  18. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Factor in ticket-price inflation and “Watchmen” is doing worse in theatrical than “300”.
    Not to mention that the “Watchmen” trailer explicitly name-checks “300”. That alone was my cue to make “Watchmen” a Must to Avoid.

  19. christian says:

    Disagree mutinyco. For the same reasons MAD MEN is not set in present day. Or REVOLUTIONARY ROAD. Or NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN even.
    I don’t think WATCHMEN takes full advantage of its 80’s era, which would have made things more resonant by showing the changes or similarities. But the cold war nuclear fear doesn’t exist today like it did then (!), and that’s the basis for so much of the story. Updating it would destroy the texture of the story. Having the web, GPS, cell phones, Britney Spears, Bush as backdrop…ugh. Only Lex would approve.

  20. scooterzz says:

    i am so wrapped up in the idea of io being in a car…actually out in the world…that i’ve forgotten what i was thinking….was he actually driving a car?….is he actually allowed out?….
    seriously, that sentence scared me a little….

  21. jasonbruen says:

    Watchmen is doing poorly BO wise because of the cost of producing it.
    I think there’s more fervor of the BO of Watchmen then usual because most fans thought this would be a huge hit. It’s understandable – the original product the movie was based on is held in high regard so it is natural that they would think it would do so well.
    But it isn’t doing as well as some thought. Making a successful movie is difficult. Making movie that turns into a phenomenon is a crapshoot.
    Who would have thought Iron Man would have been so successful? 300? TDK? Granted we all HOPED TDK would be a huge success, but we didn’t actually know. Batman Begins is a good movie, but it wasn’t the phenomenon TDK was. It is a fine line between BB and TDK, yet crossing it can be hard.
    A studio rebooted Hulk after a few years. Studios are talking about rebooting Superman and Fantastic Four. A studio may not throw $150M in the next year at a good, obscure (i.e., nonmainstream) comic. But they will at some point. And they will keep making them because they hope, as they do with all event movies, that they will become as successful as Batman Begins, X-men, etc. And they hope the movie will be good and successful to become a phenomenom like TDK, etc.

  22. jasonbruen says:

    Pleading your case for your movie, to bring fans to see it, is understanable. Most, if not all of us, would if in the same situation. Who doesn’t want their product to be successful?
    Pleading your case cause a) you might not get a job again or b) studios might not spend as much again on a comic book is ridiculous.
    As I said above, making a phenomenom is a crapshoot. DP is not attacking the movie at all. I think he, like most of us, are fascinated by the business side. We didn’t know TDK or Pirates would be so huge and likewise, we thought Watchment would be bigger. It’s very interesting to discusss because just when we think we’ve figured it out, we haven’t.
    There’s nothing wrong with discussing the BO and perceived shortfalls/successes. Again, we should praise that Snyder got to make this, in his vision, and had the studio’s support. It sounds like Synder got as close as possible (if not did) to making this the best Watchmen movie there could be. Perhaps there is no way to make a Watchmen movie like TDK.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    “Not to mention that the ‘Watchmen’ trailer explicitly name-checks ‘300’. That alone was my cue to make ‘Watchmen’ a Must to Avoid”
    Chucky, if you would just admit to having some kind of obsessive-compulsive or personality disorder, it would make it so much easier for me to stop calling you a ludicrous fool.

  24. christian says:

    “we thought Watchmen would be bigger.”
    Did we? I didn’t think it would be 300 in anyway. How could it? I’m still calling out this bizarro idea that 60 million dollars opening for a deep, intellectual, subversive comic book film is fairly amazing. Leave the rest to the bean counters.

  25. christian says:

    “is NOT fairly amazing.”

  26. Blackcloud says:

    I’m with Chucky re: Watchmen namechecking 300. The fact that it was touted as being from the “visionary director” of 300 was definitely four strikes against it, and usually you only get three. Leaving aside the enormous amount of hubris that reveals (and hubris always invites nemesis), 300 was rubbish. So saying the guy responsible for 300 was responsible for 300 is basically saying, Yep, this one’s gonna suck, too. Maybe I’ll change my mind after seeing it, but I’ve had absolutely no confidence in the movie from the moment I heard about it. Snyder’s track record is the strongest indictment against him.

  27. jeffmcm says:

    It was rubbish, but it was rubbish that grossed $456 million worldwide. So obviously mainstream audiences liked something about it, and using it as a wedge to get people to see a similar type of film was the obvious marketing choice. I’d like to hear a suggestion for a better way to sell Watchmen, because the marketing campaign wasn’t going to be based on the cast, and familiarity with the source material was only going to take them so far, so that leaves visual spectacle and the director’s prior hit.
    As for the ‘visionary director’ thing, that would only hurt the movie with the tiny portion of the audience that consists of people like us here on this blog who know better. Joe Public, confronted with that ad copy, is likely to have said, ‘well, 300 was cool to look at, so maybe this one will be too’.
    And really, Snyder’s track record isn’t that bad – his Dawn of the Dead was good, and while 300 was corrupt, it was still well-executed.

  28. brack says:

    I was worried too because of the 300 name checking, but Watchmen is light years better than 300. I didn’t like 300 much.

  29. mutinyco says:

    Christian, there’s a difference with those movies you mentioned: They’re all dramas set in “reality.” There’s no fantastical elements. Watchmen, on the other hand, was all about adding the fantastical to a modern day reality, that was its conceit. But by leaving the movie in the ’80s, that concept is ruined — it’s now a fantastical element within a setting of artifice.

  30. LYT says:

    Updating the setting might have improved immediate box office, true. But as a long-term catalogue title, like the book is for DC, keeping it truer to the book seems a better strategy for posterity. DVD and home viewing are where it should make most of its money anyhow.

  31. Blackcloud says:

    I have not seen Snyder’s first flick; horror just doesn’t interest me. I suppose Miller deserves some (much?) of the blame for 300’s proto-fascist leanings, but Snyder deserves a hit for not toning them down any and indeed, likely exaggerating them in the film medium.
    And that said, Moore’s track record didn’t exactly instill confidence in me for Watchmen. Again, I haven’t read it, and the film is its own thing, but V for Vendetta was puerile. No doubt that owes much to the Wachowskis, whose philosophizing never ascends above the shallow, but the basic elements of the story are Moore’s. And those elements are pretty dumb. “I don’t like Margaret Thatcher, so let’s imagine Britain as a fascist state some ten years in the future.” Talk about juvenile. The Brits have a hallowed tradition of utopian (and anti-utopian/dystopian) literature–they invented the genre, after all–but V for Vendetta is very much a runt in that distinguished lineage. From what I’ve seen and read about Watchmen’s storyline, it appears to have some affinities with that vision. I wasn’t impressed the first time around. I’m still gonna see it despite my great doubts, so I’m willing to give it a chance. But its progenitors have a lot of skepticism to overcome, skepticism largely induced by themselves.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    Sure, but that doesn’t have anything to do with marketing except as obstacles. My point up above re: Chucky has to do with his insane notions of how to market or not market a movie which have no bearing on reality.

  33. David Poland says:

    machine de la bullshit… probably a third name for io, trying to pass off a new writing style… wrong on every count that is not just your opinion.
    1. “we” is everyone who is watching. no one made a sports-like “we won” comment. And do you believe that public comments from filmmakers are neccesarily “the truth?” Are you wearing yor Jonas Bros purity ring… because the bros. are using them as cock rings backstage… grow up.
    2. just because you don’t remember larry gordon’s letter doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
    3. the studio has been blaming the “overestimation” of others since their overestimation became clear.
    4. a typo… oh my!
    5. can’t argue your opinion… just disagree.
    I am cautious of all… and concious of what standard you can’t claim writing up lightweight stuff like that. If you aren’t IO, IO thinking you are “bad” is pathetic. You are, indeed, bad.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    IO’s method of cognition is too distinctive to be Green Machine up there.
    Maybe somebody Irish? Not a lot of people bother with the bold html.

  35. Blackcloud says:

    Jeff, of course. The similarity between my opinion of the namechecking in the Watchmen ads and Chucky’s opinion of same exists only on the surface. Mine is for the reasons I described, and his stems from the reasons you described, i.e., his well known phobia and paranoia about film marketing of any kind.
    Also, I don’t speak Spanish, so maybe “verdad” is green, but from the context and its resemblance to various decsendants of “veritas,” I think it means “truth.”

  36. 555 says:

    still waiting for Chucky to explain how name-checking and oscar-whoring will confine Michael Mann’s Public Enemies to the arthouse ghettos of South Jersey.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    Blackcloud, I think you’re probably right re: ‘verdad’.

  38. leahnz says:

    ‘I have not seen Snyder’s first flick; horror just doesn’t interest me.’
    blackcloud, snyder’s ‘dawn of the dead’ (particularly the director’s cut) is all manner of apocalyptic badassery wrapped in hard-out action and blood-and-guts zombie carnage with a sense of humour and a terrific leading lady perf from sarah polley (plus a rather touching little love story between polley and jake weber to underpin the proceedings) – just lovely, you must give it a go!
    also, ‘dawn of the dead’ has a sublime opening credits sequence to the vocal stylings of johnny cash; it would appear snyder has become quite the opener with interesting credits dude at any rate

  39. Machina de La Verdad says:

    I am not IO. I am not Spock. You are not right. Shocking.
    1-You said “we” as if you were part of the fraternal group of filmmakers. You are AT BEST an outsider peering in. Denied cupcakes.
    2-Larry Gordon did NOT write a public letter. If you believe that letters to judges are public, then you probably believe that a link site is important. Oh wait…
    3- Please link, otherwise I say you are full of shit and stand by that.
    4- I was just telling you to fix it because it fucking annoyed me mister.
    5- I never stated an opinion, senor. I stated that the letter is not whiney. You CAN argue it by citing his whines…or since there are none you pretend you have won. Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
    FACTS not sturm and dung. Bring the facts Poland or stfu.
    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.

  40. leahnz says:

    is that you, jules, from ‘pulp ficiton’?

  41. leahnz says:

    uh, FICTION

  42. Triple Option says:

    Not that it makes a difference but when I first looked at Hayter’s letter yesterday, admittedly skimming over quickly, I, too, thought he meant since the premiere he had seen the film twice or at least the premiere as being the first time. Maybe it was because the slight subject change between the first and third paragraph that I wasn’t picking up he was referencing rough cut & premiere again?? Maybe it was because I went to a state school? Anyway, I got the sense he was speaking speculatively on the material when he evoked Kubrick’s name. Maybe if he’d said “Is it 2001? Is it Howard the Duck? That’s not for me to decide and even now at this point I couldn’t blax, blax, blax.” I personally am giving him a pass. Sure there’s a lot of room for interpretation but I can’t fault the guy for wanting the discussion to remain on the merits of the film and not b.o. and other assorted issues. Of course there are some direct contradictions in bringing up the greater good of movies by having Watchmen succeed or perhaps the death of films of its ilk should it not. Pretty big picture, draw focus away himself talk.
    Per his point, I remember reading an article in the LA Times in the late 90

  43. Not David Bordwell says:

    Speaking of Larry Gordon, I’m looking forward to a sequel to that 48 hrs. we all enjoyed… and ended too quickly.
    Another 48 hrs., plz!
    Or at least another diary from Larry Gross. That would be cool, too.

  44. anghus says:

    got no horse in this race Heat, but i gotta tell ya:
    you are revelling way too much in the perceived failure of Watchmen. All you’re doing now is spinning. If this was a Sony release, you wouldn’t be doing the same.
    You are extending a middle finger to the geek community and telling them to fuck off. You smile with glee as you write these posts, because you believe this somehow makes you ‘right’
    you’re turning into Finke, Dave. There’s nothing honorable about this behavior. Frankly, i thought it was beneath you, even when every other industry person i know calls you petty and a useless douche. But man, if you read all your posts on Watchmen together, it reads like a Coulter piece on Liberalism. You’re not just taking jabs, you are trying to crucify all involved.
    i expect more.

  45. Blackcloud says:

    Sorry, but a lot of this is kill the messenger special pleading. It’s not Dave’s fault the movie’s underperforming expectations.
    “You said “we” as if you were part of the fraternal group of filmmakers.” No he didn’t. If he had, he wouldn’t have refered to “the filmmakers,” but to “us filmmakers.” Whatever group “we” was in his statement, it wasn’t the one he referred to in the same statement as being external to the one to which he belongs.
    “Where do we begin?” So what group do you belong to, Truth Machine, whiny Watchmen fanboys?

  46. Nicol D says:

    “We’re looking at something in hindsight as opposed to staring it directly in the face.”
    Just saw the film and I must say this is exactly why I loved it.
    The graphic novel and film both have very different feels. What makes Watchmen the Movie more relevant to today is that we can see with the benefit of hindsight that Veidt was wrong in his assessment and perhaps even more naive and black and white than Rorschach.
    The benefit of hindsight makes clear what may have seemed ambiguous in the mid-eighties. Hence where people said Watchmen the Graphic Novel posed the question of who is the true hero…
    Watchmen the movie poses the question of who is the true psychopath?
    Great film.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, can you elaborate on the above and what you mean by ‘benefit of hindsight’?

  48. Martin S says:

    Dave – There is somebody who’s frequented this board that writes like Green Machine. It ain’t IO simply because IO likes people to know when it’s him. And yes, Green Machine is a fitting name.
    That said – There’s very little difference between the Levin piece with Drew and the Gordon piece in THR. Each producer contacted the writer, not vice versa. Both writers allowed the producer to present their side clearly and without question. Both were responding to how they were suddenly the villains of the case. The difference was Levin wrote an email, Gordon placed a call. If anything, Levin was trying to throw Gordon under the bus which forced Gordon to blame his legal team.
    Mutiny – very, very few people “got” the Watchmen subtext when initially released. Moore wasn’t expressing today’s atypical agitprop outrage, he was first and foremost interested in turning the superhero concept on its head ad the only way to do that was to deal with actual issues. Any anti-whatever was only a catalyst to get where he wanted.
    You are right that the conceit was lost by keeping it in the 80’s, but Snyder had little choice without turning this into a massive political statement.
    I’ve avoided the hell out of this discussion, but…
    Who becomes Nixon? Does the Gulf War become ‘Nam or are we moving it to post 9/11? Doesn’t this mean the Comedian shot Regan? If it’s the Gulf War, then how does Manhattan’s victory change the past several years? So on and so forth…
    Snyder couldn’t win with this approach. If he holds to the books “real events” but updates the chronology, the “proto-fascist” argument he was hit with during 300 would be glued to his ass. If he moves the whole thing to a post 9/11 reality, as Christian pointed out, that makes W the backdrop and who in the world wants to watch that now? No one on the right as it will feel like another screed and no one on the left because he’s history. Snyder’s background is first and foremost as a commercial director, literally.
    Jeff – I’d like to hear a suggestion for a better way to sell Watchmen…
    The marketing should have been an extension of the movie’s world. Poster designs, commercials, swag, etc…should have reeked 1985. Ozy should have been roto’ed into Band Aid footage. Rorshach should have been P-Shopped with Bernie Goetz. Comedian should be on Letterman’s couch. There should have been a glam rock CD called Nite Owl. Manhattan with the Challenger crew. etc…
    Instead, they carbon copied the 300 P&A by name-checking everything possible. Instead of Frank Miller, we got Zach Snyder. We would’ve gotten Alan Moore if he hadn’t ripped his name from the credits. But once they said “graphic novel” and superheroes, it was over. The movie is not a comic storyline and the characters are not superheroes. IMO, outside of Snyder’s record there was zero confidence.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    Martin, emphasizing the 1985 concept – instead of doing what they did, which was to bury it in the ads – sounds like a good way to turn off non-fans of the book by bringing up, what is to most kids, ancient history. Bernie Goetz who?
    The approach you’re suggesting would be appropriate for a movie with a significantly smaller budget. Once they greenlit it at $150 million or whatever it was, they were stuck treating it as a graphic novel/superhero event movie, not as a revisionist anything.

  50. Blackcloud says:

    Just to be clear, it’s Truth Machine, not Green Machine. One that’s malfunctioning.

  51. Martin S says:

    Jeff – You asked how to market Snyder’s Watchmen, not how do you get a younger audience to see Watchmen. They are mutually exclusive. Snyder’s Watchmen is not designed for a younger audience – it’s R and 3 hours long. How to get younger viewers is make it a 2-hour, PG-13 superhero murder mystery, like Poland suggested.
    The big demo for Watchmen was the 25+ male – people of the eighties. Trends run in thirty-year cycles, which is why we’re seeing Transformers, GI Joe and at some point, He-Man. WOM on the swag would have generated good buzz considering most of the recipients were high school/college age in the 80’s and would have appreciated the nostalgia. The marketing though, like some of Snyder’s choices, were anachronistic.
    Blackcloud – I’m sticking with Green Machine, the bearded Spock to Dave’s Big Wheel.

  52. jeffmcm says:

    Martin, the point I’m trying to make is that the marketing team did exactly what they should have done with the movie as delivered – emphasize the visuals and comic-bookery of it all and Snyder’s name. The contradiction comes from having a movie with (as we now know) an unsustainably large budget for the subject matter, so they had to try and sell it as a 4-quadrant thing to make their investment back, but the book is just too dark and weird (and thanks to Snyder, violent and sexual) for that treatment. So as far as that goes, we agree.
    I think your approach may have had a better shot at working if they were going for a much smaller niche audience – I still guarantee that most of the ’80s generation doesn’t remember who Bernard Goetz was though.
    Also, I think we agree on exactly who Machine is (a guy who has claimed to loathe anonymous blog posting names despite his own previous use thereof)

  53. christian says:

    The kidz are very interested in the 80’s today, particularly the music and films like THE GOONIES or 16 CANDLES, etc. are loved by a new generation, etc. Didn’t that 80’s action hero have a huge hit film last year? Two if you count RAMBO…

  54. leahnz says:

    just so long as 80’s hair doesn’t make a comeback!

  55. Blackcloud says:

    You don’t think Tin Machine’s initials are DM, do you?

  56. Lota says:

    Aw c’mon leah. I love 80s hair on men–I hate all these buzz cuts that men sport now. Bleh. Everyone is so featureless as is they are in the mfkg army.
    Bring back this kind of hair (come to Mama):
    oooh i am faint. The Swayze! The Swayze!

  57. Lota says:

    I mean “as if”
    the 80s were so long ago I can;t remember all that nice hair. I have to go dig out the jnr high yearbook.

  58. leahnz says:

    ha, lota, i totally thought of you and your hilarious crush on the swayze mullet as i typed that

  59. Lota says:

    Actually many mullets are hideous (Cyrus, van Dammed etc)
    but Kurt Russell could really rock the mullet too. This is the most hilarious mullet love-Kurt fetish I ahve ever seen adn I am sure it violates a gazillion copyrights so enjoy it while it lasts. Wonderbar!
    The dancing techno cartoon Kurt at the end is Massive. LMSAO

  60. leahnz says:

    that is fucking funny (those germans and their zany sense of humour!)

  61. Bob Violence says:

    In fact, I

  62. Lota says:

    except the Germans and Austrians usually aren’t kidding about that stuff. As evidenced on many episodes of Eurotrash, my favorite show in the 90s. The Hasselhoff worship perhaps says it all.

  63. “If you call him on the carpet: he suspends you”
    He suspended you for being irrational and crazy. He suspended Lex for being a drunk. Not because either of you called him out on anything.
    The ’80s are incredibly popular these days in regards to the music and general aesthetics. Shoulder pads are coming back, which is frightening and just another thing to blame Lady GaGa for. But just like we’ll never see housewives wearing hoop skirts ever again I doubt some of the more extreme trends will be returning. Although I did see someone wearing double acid watch denim last week and I practically died of fright. Similarly, I saw a girl who looked no older than 12 a while back wearing a shirt that said “FRANKIE SAYS RELAX”. At first I wanted to go over to her and shake her about and say “you shirt is about masturbation!!” but thought that might be weird and decided to just let her keep on thinking she was being cool with her eighties’ slogans.

  64. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    “‘If you call him on the carpet: he suspends you’
    He suspended you for being irrational and crazy. He suspended Lex for being a drunk. Not because either of you called him out on anything.”
    Bullfuckingshit in my case, Camel. Bullfuckingshit. The way he insulted me for almost a week, then refer to me as a BEAST. When he lack ineptitude is the reason why people like YOU can get away with being PEOPLE LIKE YOU all the time.
    He spends a whole week insulting me and degrading me, then suspends me after I rightfully give him a figurative elbow to the face. So really, he’s dog balls right now, and he used to not be such bullshit.

  65. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Just ignore that second sentence. If this two-bit blog application had a freaking edit function. I would just delete it, but this thing is dog balls like it’s owner. So… yeah… ignore it.

  66. Hallick says:

    “Just ignore that second sentence. If this two-bit blog application had a freaking edit function. I would just delete it, but this thing is dog balls like it’s owner. So… yeah… ignore it.”
    You know, in some places overseas that comments means the exact opposite of your intended meaning. If you really want to harp on David for a global audience, I think saying “…this thing is DOG SCROTE like its owner” would be internationally more effective; not to mention more alliterative. Then again, maybe “dog scrote” is a compliment in Nepal or something too.

  67. Nicol D says:

    “Nicol, can you elaborate on the above and what you mean by ‘benefit of hindsight’?”
    We are not living in the mid 1980’s. We know that Veidt’s assumptions about what would happen in the cold war and in the event of a major threat to millions are wrong. Hence any percieved peace wouldn’t last and nuclear war, very tangible for many at the time of the graphic novel, never happened.
    So Veidt’s “sacrifice” of the few for the many actually is based on assumptions that we know now are/were incorrect.
    When you first read the graphic novel we think maybe Veidt is the true hero. When you see the movie you are left with the thought that maybe he is the true psychopath.

  68. jeffmcm says:

    Thanks Nicol, that’s what I thought you meant.
    The implication you make, of course, is also that Dr. Strangelove is a pointless movie since it’s also about Cold War armageddon, which never happened, so why bother watching it today?

  69. jeffmcm says:

    And IOI:
    Saying that you didn’t get suspended for being irrational and crazy, is something that an irrational and crazy person would say.

  70. Lota says:

    Watchmen was a series and not a graphic novel. There were no heroes, it was ‘SLouching towards Bethlehem” where one could understand the possibilities descendant into a modern world without real heroes. Superduperman and unwonder woman.

  71. leahnz says:

    that zany german humour comment was supposed to be sarcasm…sarcasm can be a real bitch on blogs, i needed some winks at the end, huh 😉 😉

  72. Triple Option says:

    Thanks Bob Violence –
    I was thinking the 16:9 was the standard ratio for all DVD releases. Or at least 16:9 for widescreen and 4:3 for fullscreen formats. I wasn’t sure if the technology of my tv was a bit ahead and incompatible or the PS2 wasn’t the best medium for movie watching.
    I did talk to someone who has a new Samsung and blu ray player and he was saying the blu ray disc he watched filled the screen fine. He had just gotten it. Not sure what would happen w/a standard DVD.
    Still, it just seemed funny that we’d essentially have the paradigm switch in watching all TV as film and then when film is available for new TV it still comes out kinda half cocked.

  73. Bob Violence says:

    I did talk to someone who has a new Samsung and blu ray player and he was saying the blu ray disc he watched filled the screen fine. He had just gotten it. Not sure what would happen w/a standard DVD.

    Like I said, a number of 1.85:1 films are slightly altered to 1.78:1 (16:9) for video and will completely fill a 16:9 monitor. It’ll happen with either DVD or Blu-ray provided your equipment is configured correctly.

    Still, it just seemed funny that we’d essentially have the paradigm switch in watching all TV as film and then when film is available for new TV it still comes out kinda half cocked.

    The alternative is a) for filmmakers to completely abandon the ‘Scope ratio that has been around, in one form or another, since the 1950s, and which is a bit like expecting all painters to use a uniform canvas size (it’s bad enough that Academy ratio is effectively no longer an option for major releases), and b) for all existing ‘Scope films (and Academy ratio films, and 1.66:1 films, and 2.2:1 70mm films, etc.) to be cropped or otherwise modified to 16:9, wrecking the original compositions just for the sake of eliminating those darn black bars. Pan-and-scan was bad enough; there’s no need to revive it for the 16:9 era (although in some cases it’s already too late). 16:9 was never intended as a “universal” aspect ratio — it was selected as a compromise between 4:3 (the original TV aspect ratio, and very close to 1.37:1 Academy ratio) and ‘Scope.

  74. RudyV says:

    “We know that Veidt’s assumptions about what would happen in the cold war and in the event of a major threat to millions are wrong.”
    Really? You seem to forget how the world came together on behalf of the U.S. in the days after 9/11; it was Bush who pissed on that goodwill and made the world hate us more than they did before.
    I’d like to thank Reagan for giving us the cold-war mentality that the world could go to pieces at any moment, thanks mostly to his own insane brinksmanship. Yet that feeling of impending doom is even more prevalent today because the threats come from so many different directions instead of from a single superpower on the other side of the ice. Russia still has thousands of nukes, not counting the ones lost or sold to terrorists who are doing quite well these days, thank you very much, since their only goal is chaos and destruction, which is in the news every day thanks to each new nutcase who lays their hands on a gun.
    And global destruction is retro? Better not tell that to Hollywood, since they just can’t keep cranking out disaster flicks–looks like zombies are the new threat to civilization.
    All I know is Watchmen is the first movie I’ve seen in years where I didn’t spend one moment checking out the inside of the theater because what was up on the screen just wasn’t holding my interest. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but the only scene that made me scratch my head was the appearance of Silk Spectre I in Dan’s home near the very end; maybe I’ll have to go back and see it again before the DVD comes out, but if she had moved in we could’ve at least heard her say something like “I still have to unpack a few things” when she left (the only real reason she appeared at the end of the comic was to make her peace with the departed Comedian, which occurred midway through the movie, making her appearance at the end somewhat pointless).
    And Hayter’s wrong if he thinks the success of a Watchmen movie will change moviemaking; the success of the Watchmen comic didn’t change comics, but led instead to a rash of grim ‘n’ gritty feasts of ultraviolence which used Watchmen as an absurd justification, when it was actually arguing the exact opposite: “Heroes” are really just thugs and lunatics who are trying to make us abide by their own twisted sense of morality.

  75. RudyV says:

    …and I agree that the blog needs to be updated to 1980’s technology (I could revise posts on GEnie back in 1989 with no problems whatsoever):
    “they just can’t keep” should be “they just can’t stop”

  76. Hallick says:

    In the meantime, there’s always PROOFREADING.
    It’s called The Hot Blog, not Beat The Clock Blog.

  77. RudyV says:

    Proofreading is for squids.

  78. Blackcloud says:

    “I’d like to thank Reagan for giving us the cold-war mentality that the world could go to pieces at any moment, thanks mostly to his own insane brinksmanship.”
    Dude, read a history book. You’ll learn something, and we’ll be spared your bizarre, paranoid interpretations of the past.

  79. Blackcloud says:

    “Proofreading is for squids.”
    Apparently he thinks reading is for squids, too.

  80. Not David Bordwell says:

    Hey, thanks for the careful discussion of aspect ratio, Bob Violence. I forget which thread it was on, but someone expressed proper outrage that Amazon was selling a download of Barry Lyndon with a false ratio — 16:9, perhaps, but with all the other crap on the viewer it was hard to tell.
    Kubrick of all people would have been devastated by the ignorance driving these decisions about “letterboxing,” since his compositions are so meticulous, and I think Barry Lyndon in particular was a deliberate experiment with a 1.5:1 ratio. I understand that even his wider formats were composed in such a way that the compositions would work whether projected in the original ration or broadcast on TV.
    It’s really depressing that whoever makes the decisions about these things is trying to shove a “universal” aspect ratio down our throats again. Roger Ebert was tireless in his war against pan and scan, but for him it was also about educating the public about aspect ratio. He was the first to complain that when letterboxing finally achieved acceptance back in the VHS era, suddenly everyone though that letterboxing was always to “original” ratio, even with films made before wider formats were being shot. He watched in horror as a Fred Astaire movie was projected with letterboxing at an open-air screening in Grant Park — cutting off Fred’s dancing feet. Singin’ in the Rain is another one I can think of off the top of my head whose compositions rely on the taller frame of the Academy ratio (although you can correct me if my recollection is off about that).
    Not to mention that nearly everything from Europe is 1.66:1, which I actually watch floating in a black box on my TV, since every other “accommodation” destroys the image or cuts off the edges.
    And I think I’d kill myself if I had to watch something like Fight Club force-fit to 16:9.
    Why does Hollywood do this to us? Is it willful ignorance, cynicism, or do they actually hate the art?

  81. martin says:

    They think they are delivering what audiences want. They think, probably correctly, that most people that bought an HDtv will be annoyed with letterboxing or pillarboxing. Personally I think 16:9 is going to fuck up the “proper” framing of older films more than VHS/SD broadcast has. At least with SD you KNEW if it wasn’t letterboxed, then it probably was wrong in some way (except for old Academy films). And if it WAS letterboxed, then it was probably right. We were spoiled with SD DVD aspect ratios. Now we’re entering an age where everything is supposed to look right on HD tvs. And of course, the exact opposite is true. Nothing will ever look right on an HD tv except for 16:9 programs, which primarily are tv. If Hollywood would start shooting 16:9 then in some ways that would make me happy. But they’re going the opposite direction, more towards the odd Imax ratio, towards 3D, and still doing lots of 2:35, so home viewing is entering a dark age IMO as far as respect for the DP’s originally framing.

  82. RudyV says:

    “Dude, read a history book.”
    Dude, I lived it. Even saw the first airing of the St. Elsewhere episode where they had to deal with a little boy who would duck ‘n’ cover every time he heard a siren or any other loud noise. Reagan screwed over the U.S. just as badly as Thatcher boinked the U.K. (as for the poo-pooing of “V”, did we already forget the proposals to tattoo or “concentrate” those diagnosed with AIDS?); it’s humorous now that his cronies were so eager to hang the “Mission Accomplished” banner over the Cold War and give Reagan the credit, yet today’s news that a Russian Air Force chief is considering the possibility of parking long-range bombers in Cuba or Venezuela shows the Cold War still has some life in it.
    Welcome back to the ’80s.
    And, yes, reading is overrated. Check out the bestseller list sometime and weep.

  83. Lota says:

    Hey ‘Cloud, like Reagan or not. he and the Bush junior when in power moved the doomsday clock closer to midnight.
    These physicists may not have history degrees but they don’t have to–they monitor arms testing, proliferation and treaties signed and broken and all of that information is available via the Library of COngress and the Security subcommittee.
    so on that basis I think I agree more with Rudy V
    And by the way–there have been reports that medications etc have been tested on prisoners and psychiatric patients without their cognitive consent so I don’t think V for Vendetta was far off “Possible” on their “usage” of interred people who they deemed undesirable, even though it was indeed Paranoid.
    V for Vendetta was a far better movie than Watchmen–I certainly cared by the end : )
    part of what influenced the paranoia of Alan Moore was that C-18/neonazis made inroads by the conservative Christians in England esp in London area, leading to their denouncements of “homosexuals” and muslims. I’ve seen them in action when I lived in London and they have an unfortunate growing group of kooks who “sympathasize” with them as they blame foreigners and non-Christians and gay men/women for all their economic problems.
    WOuld they ever run things? Hope not, but Alan Moore’s paranoid vision had some possibilities since it had already happened in another form in nazi Germany & Austria and North Korea–not like that sort of controlled society is unprecendented on Earth. In fact England was much closer to Nazi-ism and it was only One generation away from Alan Moore’s family’s experience.
    The social vision in Watchmen had less of a personal precedent so it was a little harder to digest.

  84. Lota says:

    By the way…the Doomsday clock is relevant to Watchman but I still think the experience of place is harder to accept than the vision of Sutler in V for Vendetta, which was not different from the Nazis active in England and Ireland up until ~end 1943 (when they realized they would lose), and then with the resurgence of neonazism in the early 1980s.

  85. IHeartThatCurtis! says:

    Jeff: responding the way that you did. Demonstrates how whacked out your lot are on this blog. If you believe what you believe, then you believe what you believe. Dog Balls started it, and he could not finish it. So he had to SUSPEND me in the looses sense of that term. I could have posted at any time, but I decided to be the bigger man. Being the bigger man is still something neither you or Dog Balls seem to have the ability to do.
    Oh yeah: there’s nothing funnier, then people going on about NOT CONNECTING TO THE CHARACTERS. Seriously, you could not connect with the characters, and you blame the movie? Really?

  86. Blackcloud says:

    Indeed, Lota, the Doomsday clock got closer to midnight in the 80s, but the chart you linked to shows that it didn’t move at all in 1962, when the world came closest to apocalypse. So it’s not exactly the most useful measure of the state of the world at any given moment in time.
    Anyway, my chief objection to Rudy’s statement is the implication that Reagan somehow invented nuclear brinkmanship. That is a rather fanciful notion. There is, of course, the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s JFK, too, who sold the bogus “missile gap” to ramp up America’s posture vis-a-vis the Soviets at that time. This was after a perceived relaxation under Ike, who had decided to rely on nuclear weapons because doing so was cheaper and a counter to the unmatchable Soviet superiority in conventional forces.
    Reagan, like JFK, came to power promising a renewed vigor in America’s posture towards the Soviets after a perceived slackening. This was so in some respects, since he pushed for huge increases in military spending and so on. But he also continued the support for the mujahadeen in Afghanistan that Carter initiated. So there are, as always in American history, plenty of continuities to be found if one has the eyes for them. Reagan’s rhetoric was incredibly sharp; but his policies towards the USSR, from containment to negotiation, all had precedents from his predecessors who were in office during the Cold War, from Truman to Carter.
    “Dude, I lived it.” Apparently you were in a cave, or perhaps a coma, in 1987-1989 or so. And given that you think Reagan invented this “cold-war mentality,” it’s pretty obvious you weren’t born much before that, either.

  87. Lota says:

    but Reagan did ‘invent’ the cold war in a manner of speaking, for people who were born after the Cuban missile crisis. That’s the material issue–I mean I didn;t grow up with any sense of the cold war except what I saw on TV and the NPR radio programs of PFSR and the freeze movement who were on regularly about nuclear disarmament.
    To people born in the late 60s-70s the first experience of the cold war was
    “On August 11, 1984, United States President Ronald Reagan, while running for re-election, was preparing to make his weekly Saturday address on National Public Radio. As a sound check prior to the address, Reagan made the following joke to the radio technicians:
    …***My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.***
    Contrary to popular misconception, the joke was not broadcast over the air; instead it was leaked later to the general populace. But the Tokyo newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported in October 1984 that the Soviet Far East Army was placed on alert after word of the statement got out, and that the alert was not withdrawn until 30 minutes later. Congressman Michael Barnes (D-Md.) confirmed that information with then Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.[1] There was no report of any change in the DEFCON level for the United States.”
    from wikipedia, which gets stuff wrong but the gist is correct even if the direct quotes may not be etc.
    The only cold war I knew was via Ronnie

  88. Blackcloud says:

    So there was no Cold War from 1962 to 1981? So what exactly was Nixon doing going to China? And did LBJ’s presidency miraculously self-combust? And why did Carter make such a big fuss about human rights issues in the USSR and boycott the Olympics?
    “To people born in the late 60s-70s . . .” The world doesn’t begin when we enter it, nor does it end when we leave it. C’mon, Lota, I expect better out of you. Besides, by that point he’d already delivered the “Evil Empire” speech, which is what everyone points to. Reagan may have reinvigorated the Cold War, but he certainly didn’t invent it, or even reinvent it. That’s Putin’s doing, according to Rudy.

  89. Blackcloud says:

    Just to add, the only Cold War I knew was via Ronnie as well, although I can dimly remember the Iranian hostage crisis and the start of Afghanistan. But my memory is not the sum of the world, not of what I’ve lived of it, and certainly not of the world itself.

  90. Lota says:

    “Lota, I expect better out of you. ”
    Please foist the condescension on someone else.
    To Generation Xers like myself the cold war was Reagan. We did not bounce out of the womb understanding history from 4 decades before. We had Iron man comics, Alano Moore’s V and Watchmen and a host of other pessimistic experiences in our socio-political upbringing.
    I am not talking about history of went before, but history that is experienced by youth–Reagan invented it to us.
    The 80s would be remembered by kids like me as Greed is good, and Reagan trying to be the Hard Man worldwide. What kid gives a rats ass about history–history is not what makes youth experience. You learn history later.
    The only good thing about the 80s was the sci fi books and movies, mullets and music.

  91. Lota says:

    By the way, as a mere child I still had the awareness to write a letter to Reagan to request that he not support the Taliban as a means of getting at Soviet Union. Of course, being the great leader of freedom he supported and encouraged the most repressive regime, the Taliban, who we are still having problems with since we made them, instead of heeding my human rights plea.
    He was the best cold warrior leader we ever had. If he didn;t invent the cold war, he certainly was capable of doing so had he been born 40 yrs ealier.

  92. Blackcloud says:

    Lota, I wasn’t being condescending. You’ve always struck me as one of the most thoughtful, informed commenters here. So I was surprised to see you adopting a narrower viewpoint than you usually do. That’s all.
    “We had Iron man comics, Alano Moore’s V and Watchmen and a host of other pessimistic experiences in our socio-political upbringing.” You will have to admit that is a rather different upbringing than most Gen Xers had, who did not read Moore’s works. I think you are making a hasty generalization there. You may have read them, but I reckon most did not, and still haven’t.
    “I am not talking about history of went before, but history that is experienced by youth–Reagan invented it to us.” Ah, but when you are experiencing it, it’s not history. Moreover, you say so yourself, it is your experience as a youth. You aren’t one now, so no matter much you try to recapture that perspective, you can’t. Your perspective is not that of your X-year-old self, but that of your Y-year-old self trying to reimagine how your X-year-old self saw the world.
    “By the way, as a mere child I still had the awareness to write a letter to Reagan to request that he not support the Taliban as a means of getting at Soviet Union. Of course, being the great leader of freedom he supported and encouraged the most repressive regime, the Taliban, who we are still having problems with since we made them, instead of heeding my human rights plea.”
    Now you are just making stuff up. There is no way you could have written to Reagan telling him not to support the Taliban, nor could he have encouraged the Taliban, since it did not exist until the early 1990s, several years after Reagan had left office. Getting such basic facts wrong does not help the rest of your case.
    “He was the best cold warrior leader we ever had. If he didn;t invent the cold war, he certainly was capable of doing so had he been born 40 yrs ealier.”
    No one has any idea what would have happened if Reagan had been born 40 years earlier, or later, or anything had happened differently. There is only the history that happened. Anything else is fantasy.

  93. jeffmcm says:

    Lota is obviously using “Taliban” as shorthand for the Mujahideen fighters we were supporting against the Soviets. Some of the same people, different name.

  94. Blackcloud says:

    Jeff, *some* of the same people, but by no means either identical or coterminous. The Taliban had very different origins than the mujahideen, and rose to power by taking on the various mujahid groups which had fallen into squabbling and civil war. The Taliban was formed in oppposition to the militias to end their fighting and impose order on the country. They shared some ideological affinities, but they were not the same thing. The difference is more than one of name.

  95. RudyV says:

    Did I say that Reagan invented the Cold War? Nope. I said that he nearly got us all fried, or at least he wanted us to think that, and his cronies believe it’s that hard attitude that ended the Cold War.
    What it really did is inspire such mindbending fear that nearly every aspect of the ’80s was tainted by it. Just go back and see how many music videos refer to nuclear war, from “99 Luftballons” to “The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)” to Weird Al’s “Christmas at Ground Zero” to even “The Safety Dance”. Yeah, the Renaissance Faire idyll of the Safety Frickin’ Dance is spoiled by a display of nuclear weaponry.
    And while all but the extreme righties slammed Ronnie at the time for ignoring AIDS for years before finally admitting it might be a problem for the general population, few remember that it was the fatalism he inspired that helped it to spread so quickly:
    “Reagan’s gonna kill us all anyway, and you’re obsessing over a condom?”
    “Oh, what the heck. We all gotta die sometime.”
    This was the ’80s. The tastemakers, however, have been arguing over the last two weeks that the attitudes of that era are no longer relevant and therefore neither is “Watchmen”. I tend to disagree, and I just hope we don’t have to wait for a terrorist group to light off a nuke in a crowded city before the book and movie receive their expected reassessment.

  96. RudyV says:

    How about : “The 6 Strangest Objects People Were Caught Having Sex With”
    4. A bicycle
    1. Cars
    I suppose a Sherman tank would fit in there somewhere.

  97. Martin S says:

    Rudy – And Hayter’s wrong if he thinks the success of a Watchmen movie will change moviemaking…
    I don’t think he was tying to imply all of moviemaking would change, but how and what genre projects would get financed.

  98. RudyV says:

    But even if a big-name title like Watchmen had become a hit, something like Frank Miller’s Ronin would draw an even smaller audience, despite costs that would most likely be the same. So what point would there be in pursuing a project like that if you suspected the chances weren’t good of it breaking even, even if every comic-book nerd showed up on opening weekend?
    You need more than one quadrant to make a hit, and most of the unmade comic-book movies would barely grab the nads of even one quadrant. Unless you made low-budget fare, which would let you make a profit even with a small turnout, so a property like Preacher might actually work if done that way, so…hmm.

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