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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB 42809

Sorry if I gave anyone whiplash with the problems loading the last entry… and sorry to the 99% of you who have no idea what I am talking about.
Does anyone care as little as I do about the agency merger?
Michael Speier writes in The Wrap, “The new company’s creation is, without a doubt, an industry-shifting jolt to the entertainment business at large. WME is now a company that will automatically rival CAA as the top agency in town both in terms of mojo and clients.”
But there is no real notion of why anyone who is not directly connected to this inside baseball story should be paying much attention. Will a greater consolidation of talent create better movies or just more shitty packages?
Agencies have too much power and are paid way too much money in packaging deals already… so is there some way that his deal changes that… aside from making it incrementally worse? I mean, agencies don’t MAKE anything… they are middle men.
And frankly, the one notable thing is the use of the word “Entertainment” in the new title, which scarily suggests that there may be an intention to assert more of a hand in developing movies and television… people whose jobs – with all due respect – are not to make anything of quality, but to sell something.
The real power remains with the studios and distribution channels, though the people in charge of these things often forget that they are The Money and that the agencies are not, giving too much to the agents and threatening the financial potential of projects.
What am I missing?

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71 Responses to “BYOB 42809”

  1. mutinyco says:

    Is this a BYOB or, like, technically a post?…

  2. leahnz says:

    ‘Does anyone care as little as I do about the agency merger?’
    i’m pretty sure i care as little as you do, dp, even littler if i may be so bold

  3. adorian says:

    Have the legal issues over “Precious” been resolved? Can it be shown as scheduled without injunctions and lawsuits? Can anyone refresh my memory as to what is going on and why?

  4. LexG says:

    In my decade-and-a-half in L.A., the only “interaction” I’ve had with any agency is when about 400 of them Return to Sendered my unsolicited headshots and comedy resumes unopened back in like ’96.
    But back when I was trying my hand at “screenwriting” (hahahahaha BAD IDEA) and would study up on agencies in like the Writer’s Market or wherever, I always thought “CAA” just SOUNDED more awesome than “William Morris.” Don’t get me wrong, then as now I’d gladly accept representation from a guy in the mailroom at the Biff Dunlap Ventriloquist’s Agency of Pacoima CA.
    But just saying, I always thought stars and directors and shit who had “CAA” under their name were extra hardcore, like being on some bad-ass record label or something. I realize it’s always been neck and neck, but INITIALS ARE POWERFUL; Some dude’s name makes it sound like a cigarette company or something.

  5. Aris P says:

    They can’t have a hand in development — they’re agents. Development = producing = not allowed.
    On an equally aggravating note — anyone else disappointed with Rescue Me this season? 18 months may have caused some expectations on my part, but it feels strangely neutered, not as manic as it was. Nothing seems to be going on.

  6. IOIOIOI says:

    Aris: they are going from a 13 episode season to a 22 episode season. While Tolan and Leary are used to the longer episode load thanks to the Job. The extra 9 episodes may have caused the Rescue Me writers all sorts of problems. Problems that come from the way they have written this show over the previous season.
    If you follow their pattern of storytelling. They usually have some big overarching B storyline that is resolved around episode 5 or 6. While the overarching A storyline usually goes on during the B storyline, but really kicks in around episodes 8 or 9.
    The more episodes has to screw this up. So expect the B storyline to either be resolved shortly, or before episode 11. While the main A storyline will probably not be introduced until after the B storyline is resolved. If that makes any sense.

  7. Stella's Boy says:

    I’ve only seen the first two episodes of Rescue Me’s new season, but I like them just fine.

  8. LexG says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get FAMOUS in the next six days?
    No? Okay, thanks.
    ALL MY PROBLEMS WOULD GO AWAY if I COULD JUST BE FAMOUS, like every NOBODY on Planet Earth these days.

  9. LYT says:

    Lex: there are quick ways, but they tend to suck and involve some kind of public suicide. I do not suggest them.
    You should be an extra in my movie this weekend instead.

  10. LexG says:

    Unrelated to anything else mentioned in this BYOB:
    Do you guys have a collective take on Soderbergh’s BUBBLE?
    GodDAMN, I’m like 30 minutes into watching this shit and it’s literally some of the most heartbreaking shit I’ve ever seen; Somehow I missed this when it came out, and yeah, maybe it has a just a slight bit of the inherent condescension to be expected when Mr. Ocean’s 12 goes to backwoods West Virgina to film an indie about locale sadsacks and their small-scale ambitions… but FUCK if this shit doesn’t *nail* its milieu; Watching this is like watching some long-lost, miserable home-movie doc of my pre-L.A. ass back in 90-94 working in some dreary manual labor/menial minimum wage industrial grind.
    1/3 of the way in, the LexVerdict is Most Accurate Depiction of 99% of the World EVER.

  11. doug r says:

    Lex, you could also be famous on Cliphunter.

  12. Wrecktum says:

    Lex’s College Invasion.

  13. The Big Perm says:

    Lex in: Bum Fights 8!

  14. LexG says:

    Obama’s pre-empting TV AGAIN for ANOTHER BORING PRESS CONFERENCE tonight?
    YAY to Fox for putting their foot down and saying no; Hilarious how every article now is about the network suits (most of whom surely supported Obama) being annoyed they have to lose MILLIONS every time he feels the need to get on television.
    Why don’t they just set up The Obama Hour like every Monday night at 8pm on all the networks? It’s pretty close to that anyway, and that way the American public wouldn’t have to get all angry when their stories are yanked for some indifferent, boring televised conference that they could’ve opted to watch on at least four cable networks.
    Especially sucks for us West Coasters, since all these things go down at 5pm our time and wouldn’t affect our stuff anyway, but we still lose out.
    Fortunately IDOL won’t be interrupted tonight, but is CW going to bump TOP MODEL for this boredom?
    All of those shows are more interesting than whatever their speech is.

  15. frankbooth says:

    I think you should hack off a finger and put it on YouTube. Use a cleaver. It could be the little finger of the hand you don’t use. They’d take it down, but does anything ever really dissapear once it’s been online? It’d get passed around for all eternity.
    You’d be “the guy who wanted to be famous so badly he mutilated himself,” and you would become a star. For about three days, anyway.
    Maybe I could do it for you. Think that sort of thing would count as a parole violation?

  16. leahnz says:

    does he at least have to try to light his lighter 10 times first?

  17. Chucky in Jersey says:

    We already have the Obama Hour every day on TV. It’s called MSNBC, CNBC and CNN.
    Lex@120: CW is strictly an entertainment channel — no political speeches.

  18. Aris P says:

    David, what Noah Forest writes about Silence of the Lambs in MCN today is plain stupid. FYI, really one of the dumber things I’ve read concerning film in a looong time. IMO. I don’t know if he was bored, or just needed to fill his assignment for the day. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  19. David Poland says:

    I don’t agree with him, Aris… but I’m not sure it’s the stupidest thing I have read about a film this week, much less a looooong time.

  20. CaptainZahn says:

    Anyone planning on seeing Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman in Oleanna in L.A.?

  21. Hallick says:

    “David, what Noah Forest writes about Silence of the Lambs in MCN today is plain stupid. FYI, really one of the dumber things I’ve read concerning film in a looong time.”
    It’s nearly as rambling and facile as one of Larry King’s old USA Today columns; and by the time he gets to his verdict on Silence of the Lambs, I couldn’t have cared less about what he had to say, whether I agreed with it or not. Almost everything that preceeded it was banality incarnate. But then, that’s what usually happens when you try writing just a little about too many things.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Julia Stiles and Bill Pullman in Oleanna? Great casting, opens up all kinds of possibilities. Would love to see this production.

  23. Noah says:

    Hey, Aris, thanks for that really insightful commentary. Stupid and dumb are the two adjectives you used. I made an argument, granted a quick one, but I was also talking about an eighteen year old film. Over at Tapley’s site, there was a whole thread devoted to it where I talked to people that had issues with it. A lot of folks disagreed and made their points and I listened and argued back, which is one of the fun things about movies – arguing about them. I made an opening statement, your retort is to say, “that was stupid.” If you think it’s stupid, why don’t you tell me why?
    Hallick, sorry you didn’t like the column and found it banal. I thought it was a lot of fun to write, so I’m sorry you found it boring to read. It’s not a format I use every week, thought it would be fun to try out while so many thoughts were percolating in my head.

  24. leahnz says:

    oh noah, you big dummy stupid head! 😉
    no, but seriously, good luck with that defending your nitpicky little diatribe against ‘the lambs’, likely one of the most beloved flicks in the history of flicks.
    i was/am a huge admirer of harris’ novel and came to the movie from that perspective, and when i first saw foster as the tough, no-nonsense, quick-witted, crack shot, easy-on-the-eyes hick-done-good ‘clarice starling’, i was like, ‘no, no, no, no, no!’ but by the end of the piece foster had won me over with her particular brand of ‘starling’, not the starling in the book, whom i dearly love and admire, but her own rather terrific version of starling, more vulnerable and soft but insightful and dogged, whom i also grew to love.
    so much of ‘silence of the lambs’ has become iconographic (‘hannibal the cannibal’, ‘chianti and fava beans’, etc etc) in popular culture that i can see perhaps expecting the movie to be something that it’s not, building it up in one’s mind to be some grand dramatic masterpiece of the macabre when in fact it’s quite a subtle little slice of menace, a simple character study/detective story/FBI procedural, so that you could be disappointed upon a repeat viewing. but claiming the movie doesn’t stand up to scrutiny is a big call, because for what it is, demme’s adaptation is a study in sublime, personal movie-making with a deft hand and a clear vision, making it an all-time classic imho

  25. Noah says:

    Whoa, Leah, you lost me at “subtle.” No movie that has a man making a mangina should ever be called subtle. You call it nitpicky, but the accents by both Foster and Hopkins come and go quite often, which is a pet peeve of mine. If you can’t do an accent, then don’t do an accent.
    I’ve detailed all this elsewhere, but here are my larger issues with the film: Lecter convinces a man to swallow his own tongue, which is a physical impossibility, I don’t care how smart Lecter is supposed to be, there is just no way that one man can induce another to swallow their own tongue, so I would think the film loses a bit of realism there. Also, the entire escape is completely implausible. He’s an overweight, older British guy and I’m supposed to believe he can overpower multiple people? And when he wears another man’s face in the ambulance, he still looks exactly like Anthony Hopkins. And then he’s the most wanted fugitive in America and somehow he winds up leaving the country? Nobody has posters on the wall?
    The reason I love the line “Was she a great big fat person?” so much is because it is an utterly ridiculous line considering at the time Jame Gumb is hiding a senator’s daughter in his basement. Wouldn’t you think he would try to avoid suspicion by maybe not using so many adjectives and smiling creepily? It’s just a ridiculous line. Plus Ted Levine’s whole performance is brilliant/awful, witness his scream down the well after the senator’s daughter starts yelling, which is just bizarre. These are things that are supposed to be scary, but are actually hilarious.
    The ending is utterly idiotic too. He follows Starling around in the dark and then he cocks the hammer back on his revolver, which is unnecessary. He could just pull the trigger and kill her, nobody would pull the hammer back and risk making noise in that situation, it’s idiotic.
    These are all flaws in the film. A film which I loved too once, but the flaws have outweighed the good for me. It’s not a terrible movie, despite my hyperbole, but it’s certainly more funny to me now than it ever was and has not aged well. If you can see those flaws and have it still work for you, then that’s wonderful. I wish I could say the same.

  26. leahnz says:

    ‘No movie that has a man making a mangina should ever be called subtle.’
    lol (tho technically, jame was sewing together sections of human skin to make himself a ‘woman suit’ a bit like a dress, not a mangina)
    obviously we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, because all those little ‘flaws’ you mentioned i could explain away and don’t take me out of the story in the slightest, but they obviously do you, so fair enough.
    the cocking of the gun is contentious and i can see taking umbrage with that ‘flaw’; i saw the movie with my uncle who’s a vietnam vet and he has some experience with guns, and that bugged him no end (tho he probably liked the movie more than i did so it wasn’t a deal breaker for him) i remember having the conversation with him, and my take was that jame purposely cocks the gun so that clarice can hear it before she dies as a function of his ego: he wants her to know he’s right there lording over her before he blows her away, but he underestimates her skill and speed with a gun, which is one aspect of clarice’s character in the book never really explored in the film that would have made that particular scene make a lot more sense, really.
    one of the reasons i consider demme’s film subtle is because he chooses not to go for cheap scares and excessive gore, the creeps are far more psychological/pathological in nature than material. it’s a very simple tale, well told.

  27. IOIOIOI says:

    Silence of the Lambs is one heck of a cheesy movie. Sure, there are people who love it, but that works for most films. There is someone who saw The Hottie and the Nottie, and did not barf.
    So love it all you want, but the mangina dance has become a SILLY bit of pop culture. Once your menacing mangina dance stops being menacing. I would think you cease being an “OSCAR” winning film, and become a “Huh? That won an Oscar?” film.

  28. leahnz says:

    oh MANGINA, duh. i get the scene you guys mean now. (did i mention ‘duh’?)
    but i love that scene, the music, jame putting on his face, and you bet your sweet bippy blokes who want to be women tuck their bits under like that to see what it looks like and have a good long scuzzie in the mirror

  29. IOIOIOI says:

    Leah: I am with Noah on this one. If you can still dig it. Good on you. I just find it silly. I also have a fundamental problem with Sir Anthony as the Cannibal since I am one of those MANHUNTER fans. Who digs Brian Cox’ version of Hannibal a lot more than Sir Anthony’s.

  30. leahnz says:

    and the dance isn’t meant to be ‘menacing’, io, it’s a rather sad glimpse into the fantasy of a thoroughly demented mind. if you can’t see that, then you really have missed ‘the lambs’ boat entirely

  31. Martin S says:

    What did I just say in the Sean Penn discussion last weekend? Great actor, douche of a person.
    I’m sure his snub of her at the Oscars had nothing to do with it. Wasn’t embarrassing at all.

  32. The Big Perm says:

    In the book it’s real specific that Jame liked cocking the gun. The sound got him excited…I think, Noah that your problem is that you’re trying to make a guy who skins women so he can wear a suit made of the skins into a rational guy.
    These nitpicks are kind of weird. Again, Lecter talked an INSANE person into swallowing his own tongue. He didn’t talk a rational person into doing it. What are you talking about “realism?”
    Also the “great big fat person.” I loved that line. The problem with a lot of criminals is they don’t know when to shut up. They have a basic lie and are in a decent place, then they overthink and try to be helpful and keep talking, and make themselves look suspicious. The guy is nervous and flustered.
    And yeah, the dance was not supposed to be menacing. At all. At ALL.
    I don’t see how people can say the movie has dated poorly. I don’t think it’s dated at all, it could have been made last year. I’d say it’s less dated than, say, You Got Served.

  33. The Big Perm says:

    Oh yeah, let me also say that it’s not difficult to buy that Lecter overpowers two men when he
    1) surprises the first guy byhandcuffing him to the jail cell.
    2) sprays the other guy in the face with pepper spray.
    He didn’t overpower anybody. Overpowering people is that The Rock does. Lecter got them both with sucker punches.

  34. CaptainZahn says:

    Martin, she knew beforehand that he wasn’t going to thank her.

  35. yancyskancy says:

    Yeah, none of these nitpicks add up to enough to make me rethink my opinion of the film (especially since, as others have mentioned, so many of them are easily refutable or boil down to simple differences of taste).
    Good points about Hannibal not overpowering anyone, Perm. Besides, I think Noah’s assertion that Hannibal is overweight is wrong, and I don’t see what his being British has to do with anything.
    I do agree that the moniker “Hannibal the Cannibal” is ridiculous. Haven’t read the books — does he become a cannibal partly so he can have that rhyming nom de plume? Too bad his parents didn’t name him “Hickpocket” or “Hoplifter.” His crimes would’ve been less devastating. 🙂

  36. Noah says:

    Okay, so his dance wasn’t supposed to be menacing, I agree with that. But was it supposed to be hilarious? Because that’s what it is.
    Perm, just because they faithfully adapted a bad idea from the book – Jame cocking the gun – doesn’t make it any less idiotic. Okay, he’s not a rational person, so we can just throw away any realism whatsoever then? If he’s that irrational, then you think he’d probably get caught or killed a little bit sooner.
    And you’re missing the part about swallowing the tongue that’s the problem. Not even an insane person can do it, it is a physically impossibility.
    The mere fact that Lecter is able to handcuff a guy to his jail cell means that the guy was a terrible cop. And there was only one other cop with him. Two terrible cops watching the most dangerous man in the world, yeah that sounds very realistic. Even after handcuffing one hand to the jail cell, he still had a free hand to punch him in the face.
    Look, I’m glad you guys can explain away the flaws. The movie works for you, I get it, didn’t for me. Not this time.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    It’s not meant to be menacing or hilarious, it’s meant to be bizarre, which it is. In retrospect the movie does seem to be trafficking in a little bit of homophobia, which the detractors were claiming at the time, but not enough to distract me from the movie. Gumb is, after all, bonkers and Levine does a terrific job.
    To literally ‘swallow one’s tongue’ might be impossible, but that’s basically shorthand for suffocating during some kind of fit, which happens all the time. I don’t have a problem with books where people die of Consumption either.

  38. jeffmcm says:

    I guess I should add that ‘the movie works for you, didn’t for me’ is kind of a shortcut away from addressing the film’s other issues. Not accepting these minor plot details suggests that you (Noah) were never ‘in’ the movie in the first place, or were thrown out fairly early – and the whys and wherefores of that are a lot more interesting than the logistics of Lecter’s escape etc which you either buy as the final proof of his supervillain powers, or don’t.

  39. The Big Perm says:

    Noah, how was the guard supposed to punch Lecter when Lecter stepped away and then beat him with a nightstick? And maybe they were bad cops…that’s why Lecter got away. They were not trained to deal with a guy like him…and they cuffed Lecter to the bars before entering the cell, and checked the tightness of the cuffs. Should they have known he would have made a key? Come on man.
    Also, let me address the cocking of the gun as idiotic and therefore unrealistic. Have you ever seen the fairly famous video of the woman running across a train track and getting hit by a train? There’s a stopped train on one track so she makes an assumption that all is clear, and she runs across both without looking and a second train comes along and literally smashes her to pieces. Now if I saw that in a movie I’d say that I would check the tracks before I ran across it, what that woman did wasn’t very smart. And I’m sure so would you. But we know it’s realistic because it happened. See what I’m saying? It’s not like Jame suddenly grew wings and became a demon, what he did is not “unrealistic.”

  40. Noah says:

    Jeff, I was in the movie at one point because I used to love it as much as you guys did, but those little “nitpicks” eventually eroded my love for the film. When I see “the movie works for you, didn’t for me,” I don’t think I’m doing anything other than trying to explain that I’m not discounting your opinion as a valid one. Some people on this board tend to get apoplectic and screaming when someone states an opinion, so I like to make sure that you all know that’s what I’m doing. I’m not making a statement of fact, just expressing my point of view.
    Big Perm, I hear you that they weren’t trained to deal with a guy like him, but if he’s such a dangerous man, then wouldn’t you put some trained guards on him? Two inept cops? Really? I’m sorry, I can’t accept that after they spent the first hour and a half explaining how dangerous he is, to the point where he had to wear a mask that wouldnt allow him to bite and then two guards go into his cell without wearing any protection or providing any sort of backup.
    As for, “people do dumb things sometimes,” I’m sorry that doesn’t make that scene work any better for me. It was a completely darkened room and he’s a killer, so he should know that cocking the gun back will make a sound in a room that is bereft of any noise. He can just squeeze the trigger and kill her. I thought it was slightly implausible that someone would do that, but hey what are you gonna do.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, Noah, but I guess what I’m asking is, why doesn’t the movie work for you? Because an ‘erosion of nitpicks’ doesn’t really get at the heart of the matter because that suggests that you think the filmmakers were being lazy and/or incompetent in some way? I guess what I’m asking you to do is to deepen your critique of the film.
    Also, take a look at Jonathan Rosenbaum’s review of it, where he basically calls it extremely well-crafted at the service of pointless ugliness (which I disagree with, but I see his point – and it helps to know that he’s coming from a perspective that doesn’t have much interest in thrillers or horror movies).

  42. The Big Perm says:

    You could say implausible and you could even say you hated it and I wouldn’t care, but to define things you dislike as unrealistic is too “internet nitpicky” for me. As in when things don’t match up the way you’d like, you have to discount entirely the possibility that it could ever occur because that makes the movie objectively WRONG.

  43. Noah says:

    I thought I expressed why the movie didn’t work for me. It was a movie that I initially thought was great when I was 10 years old and accepted as such until I watched it more and more as I aged. Now, parts that I once felt were shocking are really just funny to me and the little bits of the film that I initially gave a pass to (the cocking of the gun, the escape) began to bother me once I got out of the mindset of “I thought this was a great movie once so it must still be great.” The accents of Foster and Hopkins really started to irritate me, Foster’s emoting bothered me, the fact that Hopkins pronounces it KEY-ANNE-TEA is ridiculous if he’s supposed to be so learned and refined, it sounds like Britain by way of Brooklyn.
    I don’t know how to explain it any further than that. You want me to write a thesis about it? I don’t think the film deserves that kind of treatment to be honest.

  44. Noah says:

    I don’t know what to tell you, Perm, realism is a big deal to me, especially in a film that is trying desperately to be gritty and real. It’s more than just a few things, it’s a lot of things and it’s major set pieces. We’re never going to reach an agreement about this, but I sincerely appreciate your point of view and enjoy this discussion.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, Noah, but you’re not really making a solid argument. It’s like if you came on and said ‘vanilla ice cream sucks’. What are the rest of us supposed to do with this information except to discount it based on your personal tastes – and even then, with limited basis?

  46. Noah says:

    Jeff, I made my argument, I gave you the reasons why I didn’t like it. I didn’t just say it sucked, I explained why several times. I pointed to specific scenes and the problems with accents, emoting, etc. Feel free to refute or dismiss or argue back, but you’re not really doing better by reducing my comments to, “well he just said it sucked” because I didn’t do that.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    Noah, we’re on two different wavelengths here. I get all the details, I’m just trying to find a thesis statement from you and a reason to be persuaded.

  48. The Big Perm says:

    I think I’d have to disagree with the assertion that the movie is trying to be “real” though. To me, and the reason why I love it so much, it’s less of a procedural thriller and more in the Gothic Horror vein. Why else does Jame Gumb have a dungeon and Lecter lives in the basement of Dracula’s castle?
    Lecter is basically a horror monster. I didn’t mind when in Frankenstein they only had one guard watching over a supernatural superpowered monster, so it doesn’t bother me when two guys watch a handcuffed human being.
    The realistic version of the book was Manhunter, where Lecter was just a very smart guy who lived in a realistic looking hospital and didn’t escape. Silence of the Lambs is the Hammer horror version of the novel.

  49. Noah says:

    Well if you saw all those scenes and could overlook the flaws or excuse them and if you can dismiss the wavering accents as something unimportant, etc. etc. then I don’t think you’re going to be persuaded. You clearly can accept the flaws of the film because you like it and if you can accept those flaws, then my bringing them to your attention is not going to dissuade you. So, that’s that.

  50. Noah says:

    My previous comment was to Jeff.
    I get it, Perm, that’s a really good reason to like the movie and I’m glad you liked it on that level. And I think, I like it on much the same level, although I find it to be a bit goofier, a bit funnier. I love every part with Jame Gumb, but I don’t think I like it the way the movie wants me to like it. Although Manhunter and Silence of the Lambs are based on two separate books; Manhunter was based on Red Dragon, which was remade by the incredibly talented Brett Ratner.

  51. jeffmcm says:

    Noah, I think part of the issue is that some of what you’re considering ‘flaws’ aren’t flaws at all but part of the design – in which case, your argument is with the design in the first place as conceived by Demme and co. In a ‘realistic’ movie Lecter doesn’t belong, because he’s basically one notch removed from being a cartoon supervillain. But in a Gothic horror movie he fits right in. If you believe that the melding of the Gothic horror elements and the psychological realism is a mismatch, then _that’s_ a more interesting argument than ‘the cops were dumb’.
    In some ways this is a horse before the cart discussion – I’m sure that we could name any number of movies that we all love and don’t mind any number of logical flaws within them; or the inverse. But those are just the details, not the bigger artistic picture.

  52. Noah says:

    See, I disagree that what I consider a “flaw” is part of the design of the film. To me, it’s a flaw in the film to build up for an hour and a half that Hannibal Lecter is a psychopathic killer and one of the most dangerous people in the country and then have only two cops watch him and enter his cell without backup. That’s not part of the design of the film, that’s just a really idiotic movie-movie decision designed to make his escape easier and more realistic. Flaws like that take me out of the bigger artistic picture because it defies the logic that the film has set up.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    Fine, but I’m sure if you listed 10 movies that you love, I could find 9 similar objections. If you had been in the movie prior to that point I don’t think it would have bothered you.

  54. The Big Perm says:

    It doesn’t defy logic…if anything it’s kind of realistic. Some small time wannabe badass cops aren’t going to be afraid of some fancy pants doctor. They’re not scared of him. Even back at Lecter’s cell, they usually have one guy attending to Lecter and one with a dart gun. These guys are cops, used to dealing with violent criminals, and they’re armed with actual guns. They are not psychiatric professionals.
    Don’t you think it would have looked stranger if they opened the cell and they had six guys in there as backup? Wouldn’t that have seemed like hilarious overkill?

  55. Noah says:

    Jeff, exactly, that’s why going to the movies is a subjective experience. Things will bother you that don’t bother me in certain movies and vice versa. And I had been in the movie before, Jeff, I loved it for years, but eventually I was put off by a lot of the flaws.
    Overkill, perm? Like when he’s in a glass box and nobody is allowed to enter it and he has to wear a mask covering his face so that he doesn’t bite the senator who is several feet away from him? I think the FBI would prefer to be safer in that situation considering all the steps they took earlier in the movie to prevent him from doing harm, they would take similar steps when he was out of his usual environment.

  56. jeffmcm says:

    I’m just trying to find a way to make some intellectually and aesthetically satisfying lemonade out of these lemons.

  57. yancyskancy says:

    Most of these nitpicky items just seem like the kind of things we all overlook in films we like. The accents aren’t dead on? Maybe not — I’m from Kentucky, not Virginia or wherever Clarice is supposed to hail from, so I have no idea what would sound authentic in that case. However, as a Kentuckian whose accent only comes out when he’s talking to relatives back home, I know a little something about how accents morph with experience, education and living in different areas. Sometimes even when an actor absolutely nails an accent, it sounds off to us because that’s not the voice we’re used to hearing from that famous mouth.
    Re KEE-ANNE-TEA, isn’t it obvious that Lecter is putting on a different voice for that line and that the mispronunciation is deliberate? That’s the way it always struck me anyway. He occasionally mocks Clarice’s accent too, IIRC.
    I do agree with jeff that these sound like the kind of nitpicks one makes when one has disengaged from the movie. Perhaps Noah’s familiarity with the film is exactly the reason he is focusing on the perceived flaws this time around. Or perhaps his 10-year-old self never would’ve liked it in the first place if he’d noticed these things before. No biggie. To each his own, and all that. But for some reason I feel that highlighting these little caveats is kinda like spurning a supermodel because her eyes aren’t your favorite color.

  58. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, I would almost like Noah to specifically state where the accents go bad. Not just a vague “it comes and goes,” but real examples. Lecter mispronouncing Chainti…fuck I don’t even know if I’m spelling it right…that was an obvious bit of sarcasm on his part.
    The reason I ask is the one thing I dislike about internet reviewers is that a lot of times they bag on things they really don’t know about, and acting is usually the number one.
    I produced a film that had an actress in it who played a Scottish character, and a number of reviewers got on her case for the bad accent and how cartoony it was. Well, she was Scottish and that was her real accent.

  59. Noah says:

    When Clarice says, “He said I could smell your cunt.” In that line, her accent is much stronger than it is throughout the film. I’m sure now you’ll tell me, “that was purposeful because she was embarrassed and when she’s nervous her accent comes out.” When she tells the story about the lamb, it’s just not believable to me; not the story, but the way she tells it and gets all choked up. It’s too movie-movie for me and it doesn’t work for me.
    Clearly, as I stated several times, this is a result of watching a movie multiple times – probably more times than one should – but many movies stand up to scrutiny and for whatever reason – for me – this one did not. Perm, maybe I don’t know enough about acting, but I do know something about when a performance takes me out of a film and Foster’s performance and her wavering accent takes me out.

  60. jeffmcm says:

    Noah, I’m still trying to figure out your big-picture stance on the film. Like if you had to critique it in ten words or less, what would that be? Something like “Entertaining but poorly-crafted” or “spotty” or something like that? And what are the consequences? I mean, I didn’t enjoy the Indian food I just had for lunch, but if I told everyone here about it, they wouldn’t really be able to do anything about it, either.

  61. Noah says:

    What are the consequences of me not liking the movie? Well, in the big picture, nothing really. I just won’t waste any more of my time re-watching it(although I will continue to watch the Buffalo Bill scenes in youtube for comedy purposes). That’s kind of a strange thing to say. I’m not asking anybody to “do anything about it,” I’m expressing my opinion in a column in which that is what I do. I’m not going to boil down my stance on the film to ten words, that’s just ridiculous. I don’t think my “big-picture stance” is that hard to figure out since I’ve stated it several times.

  62. jeffmcm says:

    Noah, I’m just trying to get you to elaborate and extrapolate your stance – to see what there is besides ‘too many moments that felt false’.

  63. Noah says:

    What else do you want? I gave you specific scenes and lines and specific performances that didn’t work for me. I elaborated, just not to your liking and I’m sorry. Let’s just move along.

  64. jeffmcm says:

    I’m obviously not communicating clearly.

  65. yancyskancy says:

    Noah: I think maybe jeff is saying, “Okay, you didn’t like a few trees. But what about the forest?”

  66. jeffmcm says:

    In essence, yeah. And what Noah’s newfound dislike of the movie means within the context of Jonathan Demme’s career and relative to the other Hannibal Lecter movies. Are there any of those that Noah finds more appropriate?
    I also understand Noah’s complaint about the movie straddling the line between horror and realistic drama, and I think that’s part of the reason why Demme didn’t do the sequel – because his progressive, liberal self must have been unhappy at how iconic Lecter had become and how grand guignol Harris went in Hannibal (the novel). But personally, as a fan of grand guignol, I actually prefer the Ridley Scott movie in a lot of ways.
    I’m also trying to dig deeper into Noah’s reasoning and aesthetics. It’s also not clear to me what his take on the movie was prior to this change in mindset. To go to my own personal experience, there are lots of movies that I saw when I was younger that I ‘liked’ in the sense that I didn’t dislike them, and figured they must be good since everybody else liked them, and it wasn’t until I got older and saw more stuff that I realized that I could express my tastes more clearly, so I’m wondering if this is one of those kind of situations for him.
    And this is different from ‘loving’ a movie that has flaws in it. I thought Short Circuit was the best movie I had ever seen when I was 9 years old. Nowadays I don’t think that, but I also have a lingering affection for it that no amount of talk about flaws could ever extinguish.

  67. jeffmcm says:

    Sorry to thrash this inoperative equine.

  68. Hallick says:

    “Okay, so his dance wasn’t supposed to be menacing, I agree with that. But was it supposed to be hilarious? Because that’s what it is.”
    Sure, after years of YouTube, Jackass, etc, something like that scene is easy to take for a big joke. But at the time it was intensely creepy and uncomfortable; one of those scenes you come across sometimes that you kind of wish you could go back and unsee (much like the home invasion tape in “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”, but not to the nth degree which that one left in the rear view mirror). Or maybe that’s just my own personal reflex at the time.
    “The Silence of the Lambs” is like a great record that was so influential that it stopped sounding groundbreaking and started becoming trite because of all the copycats and wannabes watering down and running into the ground everything daring and awesome about it. Add to that the fact that not many movies could survive 89 gazillion dipshits doing their favorite fava bean/chianti impression.

  69. leahnz says:

    exactly. or precisely. take your pick

  70. leahnz says:

    man i’m going senile, i meant to add: it is actually possible to swallow one’s tongue; it’s always a risk when someone’s having a seizure (this is why when someone has a severe seizure you often see a caregiver put their fingers in the person’s mouth to prevent it). i once witness such an event first hand when a good friend had a sudden epileptic seizure in the pub and she swallowed her tongue and none of us knew what to do, but luckily a surgeon happened to be there and she was able to save her life, very scary stuff

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