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By David Poland

BYOB Passed Over

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46 Responses to “BYOB Passed Over”

  1. LYT says:

    After seeing Observe and Report, I’m wondering if there isn’t some larger cinematic trend of deconstruction at work.
    It strikes me that:
    Watchmen is to big studio superhero movie as…
    Adventureland is to typical Apatow comedy…
    as Observe and Report is to Happy Madison comedy.
    All three show you how truly depressed and fucked up characters from those film genres would be if their world were a bit more like the one we actually live in.
    As such, I don’t favor its box office chances. But I’m enjoying the trend.

  2. I completely agree. In many ways, Observe and Report was a satire of that most classic of movie plots – the underachieving underdog redeeming himself and winning the girl through sheer determination. It reminded me a lot of The Cable Guy (in a good way).
    While movies like The Cable Guy, In A Lonely Place, The Shootist, and Punch Drunk Love are deconstructions of a major movie star placing their stock character in the real world, you’re right in that we are also seeing the same thing being done to whole genres. While not perfect, I was shocked at how much there was to chew on in Observe And Report.

  3. leahnz says:

    just a quick non-spoilery word on ‘trek’ for anyone interested: i was pleasantly surprised by jj’s take, a bit of a sigh of relief; die-hard trekkies might pick it apart at the seams for defying ‘canon!’ (i fucking hate that term for some reason) and those who go in wanting to hate the new cast and sensibility probably will, but if you have an open mind it’s a cracker of a ride, ‘backstory 101’ with heart, pace, some thrilling set pieces, decent effects, and perhaps most notably the players rise to the occasion, which is really what it’s all about. not exactly a ‘thinking person’s trek’ but the battles and visual spectacle don’t overwhelm the emphasis on character & the forging of future relationships so familiar to so many of us. some lulls and rushed bits here and there, and i didn’t think the second part was as good as the first, but in general jj’s pulled his finger out.
    (and may i just add an i-told-you-so shout out for my boy karl as ‘bones mccoy’, absolutely hilarious and spot-on as the cantankerous, grumpy-ass southern country doc with the heart of gold; he and pine – who doesn’t have shatner’s manly gravitas or swagger but still manages to carve out a convincing young kirk for us to root for – have lovely chemistry together, but it’s karl who steals the show (by now some of you may be aware that i’m not exactly objective on that subject, tho). perhaps quinto has the toughest assignment playing an icon the magnitude of spock, but he pulls it off nicely with a considered, no-nonsense perf, he and pine play well together; the rest of the crew acquit themselves just fine (pegg is a riot as usual) with a few shrugs of the shoulders here and there, most notably uhura and yelchin’s chekhov. good grief i cringe every time i think of yelchin playing ‘kyle reese’ in the upcoming ‘terminator: sal’; biehn’s intense, vulnerable, absolutely gorgeous ‘reese’ is sex on a stick, while yelchin is more…’a feeble grope on your parent’s couch on a toothpick’, yikes! different kettle of fish, tho, ‘terminator’. we shall soon see)

  4. jeffmcm says:

    Did they release Star Trek a month earlier than in the US or was this some other deal?

  5. LexG says:

    k-stew = 19 years awesome = yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
    greatest birthday ever!

  6. LYT says:

    Jeff, they had premieres of Trek this past week in Australia and Austin.
    I liked the 30 minute presentation I saw a few months back.

  7. leahnz says:

    and new zealand

  8. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, since no one else has posted on this blog for hours, I’m going to slip in a shameless plug for something I wrote.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    Geez, does anyone post on this blog anymore?

  10. LexG says:

    Joe, I just took it as a sign that everyone was bowing to Kristen Stewart and paying their proper birthday homage.
    This is probably a dead BYOB, but I just caught the umpteenth TV spot of the night for that FANTASTIC-looking McConaughey/Garner romcom. (I’m only being semi-facetious, since I’m a big fan of both stars. Seriously.)
    But… Michael Douglas. Man. I could never bag on the guy since he’s an icon to me, and he’s done some pretty reasonable interviews lately where he’s as much as admitted that since CJZ and having some younger kids, he’s been way less focused on career. Hard to begrudge him that.
    Still, for a guy who for so long (as both producer and star) had such uncanny mainstream instincts for cool directors, hot-button issues, and provocative material, can’t help but be kinda bummed at his goofy post-2000 resume. He makes Kevin Spacey’s last decade look dignified — One Night at McCool’s, In-Laws, Dupree, The Sentinel.
    I see next up is a Peter Hyams flick. Being a big fan of The Star Chamber, that would have been a fairly cool reteaming… in 1991. Or, you know, before The Musketeer and Sound of Thunder.
    Talk about having a bad decade.

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Peter Hyams is very much a hit-or-miss filmmaker, that is true. But there will always be a soft spot in my heart for Busting, Peeper, Outland and Running Scared. Seriously.
    As for Michael Douglas — who I will always admire for Adam at 6 AM — like you said, maybe he found something more important to devote his time to. We should all be that lucky.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    When you’re over 60 and have a couple of Oscars under your belt, not to mention many millions of dollars, why would you spend a lot of time on your career?

  13. LexG says:

    Joe, Busting came up on HE today, and I had totally forgotten I had a VHS copy of that (still unseen by me) lying around somewhere. I should give that a spin one of these nights.
    But really like Capricorn One, Outland, Star Chamber, Presidio, Running Scared, and Timecop. All if not most of them are stylish potboilers, but I always sort of liked his low-rent lighting schemes and straightforward, almost icy approach. Half his movies look like they were made to be cut down to 72 minutes for for the CBS LATE MOVIE in 1984. (When they weren’t showing 5-0.) Somehow I mean that as a compliment.
    And End of Days features THE GREATEST LIMP BIZKIT SONG EVER, Crushed, so it’s aways to imagine Hyams’ Chicago Newman, Neil Diamond looking ass CRANKING some awesome 1999 nu metal when he auditioned cuts for that soundtrack.

  14. LexG says:

    Also, Leydon, was Rogen being kind of a dick in that interview? Amusingly so, just couldn’t entirely tell if he was dissing you.
    This brings me to my next point: Seth Rogen is now skinny and in shape. Did we all collectively okay this? Aren’t there enough ripped leading man actors to do straight action shit? Didn’t we sign on for a lifetime of Seth Rogen, funny fat guy with giant ‘fro? Van Damme or Cena don’t go all dumpy and try to steal Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti’s shtick.

  15. christian says:

    Well Joe, I have ADAM AT SIX AM right there on my shelf of rare VHS…good stuff.

  16. movieman says:

    Joe- What about “Our Time”? That’s my favorite Hyams film.
    And I’d like to put in a personal thumb’s-up for Rogen’s buffed new look. Dude is looking pretty awesome these days: all power to him.
    His performance in “O&R” is the equal to Sandler’s in “Punch Drunk Love” and Carrey’s Andy Kaufman in “Man on the Moon.”

  17. Martin S says:

    Re: Hyams. Always like him because he’s his own DOP. The Relic is solid, but Outland is one of the best sci-fi flicks and vastly underrated.
    Re: Douglas. He’s President of the “I’ve-got-some-new-ass-so-my-drive-is-gone” club. Charter members are Hopkins and Ford. Their arch-enemy is Eastwood.
    I do wish Douglas would snap out of it before we’re looking at a last hurrah, but since his wife is the poster girl for Overrated he genuinely seems concerned with outshining her so every project is a duet. ugh.
    You can add another film to the “Giant Monsters” trend with the adaptation of Shadow of the Colossus. That actually could be very cool if they don’t get caught up in trying to make some complicated story out of it.

  18. Martin S says:

    The Fat-guy-goes-thin shtick shows how sick the business is, seriously. You can tell it’s LA peer pressure because they’re destroying whatever audience-identity they had.
    Horatio Sanz effectively ended whatever career he had, but the one I can’t get over is the dude from Drake-n-Josh, Josh Peck. He went from being the next Costello to a fruity kewlbie. I don’t blame people for wanting to shed weight, but when you go so far that you appear to have morphed you better make that trick your calling card.

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    LerxG: Actually, wasn’t it the ’70s when CBS was running reruns in late night? Because, as I recall, that’s when I got to re-watch one of my favorite TV shows of all time: Harry O. David Janssen + Anthony Zerbe = Priceless.
    Some of the other Peter Hyams flicks you, Movieman and Martin mention are enjoyable. (I forgot about Our Time, which I actually saw during its theatrical run.) But the above-listed are my absolute faves.
    And Christian: Not only is Douglas great in Adam at Six A.M. — but Joe Don Baker gives one of his best performances, ever. Funnily enough, I haven’t seen this film in decades, literally, but I still vividly recall bits and pieces of it. Like, Baker’s repeated suggestions that Douglas’ discontented college professor should learn a new trade — TV repair.
    Back to Lex: Nah, I think Seth was having some good natured fun. I just wish he would have shared more of his diet tips.

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Weird italics.

  21. movieman says:

    I’m actually old enough to have seen “Our Time” during its 1974 theatrical release as well, Joe.
    I can still remember my movie marathon that June day in downtown Pittsburgh:
    “Daisy Miller,” “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” “Claudine” and “OT” which completed the marathon. And not a moment too soon because I almost missed my bus back to Youngstown.
    One of the indignities of not being old enough to drive back then was having to take a Greyhound bus just to get my regular movie fix.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    Don’t feel too bad, Movieman. When we lived in Shreveport during the mid-70s, my wife and I had to drive all the way to Dallas to see subtitled movies. Now, of course, Shreveport is a major film production center. Big change.

  23. movieman says:

    Never had the chance to see “Adam at 6 A.M.” although I did buy the paperback movie tie-in edition.
    “Adam” hasn’t been the easiest movie to see these past 39 years….always liked Lee Purcell (“Big Wednesday” among others), too.
    Does anybody know whatever became of her?
    I keep hoping that the movie pops up on TCM one of these days.
    Speaking of difficult to see ’70s films, I just ordered “Dusty and Sweets McGee” off That’s the only Floyd Mutrux movie I haven’t seen, though I did pick up the soundtrack album back in college at a used record store on St. Marks Place.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    Mutrux’s Aloha, Bobby and Rose is one of the great overlooked gems of the ’70s. When I watched it again a few years back, I was amused to see a very young Edward James Olmos (billed as “Eddie Olmos”) in a supporting role. But what the hell ever happened to Dianne Hull? I guess you could ask the same question about a lot of actresses who had 1 or 2 standout roles in the ’70s. But, sheesh, Hull looked like she had star potential.
    And Floyd Mutrux himself…?

  25. movieman says:

    I adore “Bobby and Rose,” Joe. That’s the film that turned me on to Mutrux. I still think “American Hot Wax” is the greatest rock and roll movie ever made (and that Tim McIntire’s performance is one of the greatest unheralded film performances EVER).
    Sure hope it makes it to dvd one day.
    Mutrux hasn’t made a film since….”There Goes My Baby” in 1994??
    What an appalling waste of a truly extraordinary filmmaker.
    Is Bill Fraker still alive? He was Mutrux’s right-hand man, but I haven’t seen his credit on a movie in ages.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    He’s alive and occasionally teaching at USC.

  27. christian says:

    Bill Fraker very much alive at 90. A genius DP (and director in the case of the wonderful unavailable MONTE WALSH).
    I was looking for ADAM AT 6 AM awhile back and actually found it for one dollar on VHS at Amoeba. Produced by Steve McQueen’s Solar! The film doesn’t quite go to where you think it will and it plays low-key. Don Baker is terrific too. Love the Dave Gruisin theme too.

  28. christian says:

    And one of Sean Connery’s GREATEST performances is in OUTLAND. Frances Sternhagen is wonderful too. The rest of the movie is rather silly, and I’ll never forget when it opened and the audience boo’d when the gunman shot a hole in the space greenhouse with his shotgun…dumbest assassin eva…

  29. Wrecktum says:

    “Van Damme or Cena don’t go all dumpy and try to steal Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti’s shtick.”

  30. Cadavra says:

    AMERICAN HOT WAX. What a tremendous film. And what an amazing character-star Tim McIntire would have become had he lived.
    Lee Purcell is still around and still acts occasionally; she showed up for a DIRTY LITTLE BILLY screening at the American Cinematheque a few years ago. I was always struck by how much she resembled Jane Fonda when she was young.

  31. Joe Leydon says:

    The funny thing is, many people assume only ancient films are not yet available on DVD, when the truth is that many interesting movies from the ’60s and ’70s are MIA as well. I would like to see Adam at 6 AM again, just to see if my memory has played tricks on me, or if certain key scenes really are the way I remember them. (I’m thinking in particular of that last, oddly poignant image of a discarded ice cream carton in the middle of a highway. At least, that’s how I remember it.) When I interviewed Michael Douglas a few years back (for The Game,/i> actually), he seemed genuinely pleased that I thought so highly of Adam. Maybe he’d be up for a DVD commentary?

  32. Wrecktum says:

    “The funny thing is, many people assume only ancient films are not yet available on DVD, when the truth is that many interesting movies from the ’60s and ’70s are MIA as well.”
    Those ARE ancient films.

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    Wrecktum: As I’ve said before, I always have to keep in mind that Bonnie and Clyde is an older movie for my college students than Citizen Kane was for me back when I was a college student. Sigh.

  34. movieman says:

    …whenever I harbor fantasies of a movie about the Brill Building days of early r&r, I’m always reminded that Mutrux got there first–sort of–with “Hot Wax.” Laraine Newman’s King manque is as close to the real deal as we’re likely to see in a film.
    Mutrux may have gotten some of the facts wrong, but no movie ever captured the heart, and soul, of rock and roll better.

  35. Cadavra says:

    Joe, this will really put it in perspective: we are now further away from BONNIE AND CLYDE than BONNIE AND CLYDE is from THE JAZZ SINGER.

  36. LexG says:

    I don’t know anything about American Hot Wax or Aloha Bobby and Rose, but I do know that Mutrux directed Hollywood Knights, so he’s officially responsible for foisting Robert Wuhl on the American public.

  37. Joe Leydon says:

    Cadavra: I can’t begimn to tell you how happy that makes me.
    BTW: I certainly didn’t plan this when I was preparing my syllabus last December, but tomorrow I’m showing my students…… Taxi Driver. Yes, that’s right — the same weekend that Observe and Protect opens at theaters and drive-ins everywhere.

  38. Joe Leydon says:

    Er…. Observe and Report. D’oh.

  39. yancyskancy says:

    Lex: Re Robert Wuhl: It now looks as though farting “Volare” into a microphone was the peak of Wuhl’s acting career. Ever see him in “Cobb,” the Ty Cobb bio with Tommy Lee Jones? Jones’ rip-roaring enthusiasm as Cobb is forced to bounce off a cloddish clump of inert molecules in the form of Robert Wuhl. There’s nothing going on behind his beady eyes. Perhaps Ron Shelton thought casting Wuhl would make the loathsome Cobb marginally more palatable to the audience.
    “American Hot Wax” is great though. And Tim McIntire should also be seen in James B. Harris’ “Fast-Walking” with James Woods. And to tie this into the penis discussion in the “Observe and Report” thread, you get to see full-frontal M. Emmett Walsh! Whether you consider that a warning or a recommendation is up to you, and possibly your psychiatrist.

  40. leahnz says:

    man, penises used to be everywhere back in the good ol’ days! i was watching ‘wolfen’ last night and counted 3 full-on penis shots (2 were on cadavers in the morgue tho, one quite close up, so dead penises, rather macabre) but edward james olmos does a corker of a full frontal. and not a bood in sight, except briefly on one of the corpses. how refreshing.
    (i can never figure out why the wolfen – supposedly so ancient and wise – kill fergie, their one ally and staunch advocate/lover of wolves, makes no sense to me)

  41. leahnz says:

    that would be a ‘boob’, rather

  42. movieman says:

    “H’wood Knights” was #1 on my 1980 best list (yes, ahead of “Raging Bull” which came it at number two).
    Michelle Pfeiffer, sigh, throb…I knew that a star was born the moment I laid eyes on her.
    The last Mutrux masterpiece is as much of an elegy/requiem for the death of an era as “American Graffiti” or “The Last Picture Show.” The mega cult status it ultimately achieved after hitting premium cable in the early ’80s was a most gratifying vindication/validation.
    And what about R/Wuhl’s “Arliss”? That remains a spectacularly enjoyable, ridiculously underrated HBO sitcom from the early (i.e., pre-“Sopranos,” “SITC” days).
    “Fast Walking” is super cool, Yancy; and I think that may have been John (“The Wanderers”) Friedrich’s last big-screen role before pulling his vanishing act. I remember seeing it at NYC’s now-shuttered Criterion on B’way where–I’m pretty sure–it played a mere week in the fall of 1982.

  43. movieman says:

    Should have read:
    “…HBO sitcom from the CABLE GIANT’S early (i.e., pre-“Sopranos,” “SITC”) days…..

  44. yancyskancy says:

    Yikes, movieman. I think we must be around the same age, but I recall Hollywood Knights as being perhaps my LEAST favorite movie of that year, though I have to allow for the possibility that I may have been in some kneejerk film-snob stage at the time. I suspect I’d be more open to its vulgar charms now (and I’ve certainly liked the other Mutrux films I’ve seen). But it may have poisoned me against Wuhl. I didn’t find him funny then and I’ve never been able to warm up to him, not even in Arliss.
    Anyway, I’ll keep an open mind about Hollywood Knights. But don’t press your luck by trying to tell me it’s better than The Shop Around the Corner. 🙂
    Fast-Walking needs to come out on DVD, stat! Or at least get a letterboxed showing on Encore or Starz or something.

  45. christian says:

    HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS is better revisited as nostalgia rather than as a good film. I think it would be the perfect double feature with THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES.

  46. movieman says:

    ….I didn’t have a problem with Wuhl, or even Fran Drescher for that matter (Mutrux may be the only director on the planet to ever get two terrific performances out of the former “Nanny” star: in “HK” and “Hot Wax”).
    One of the things I remember most vividly about the film was how brilliantly Mutrux and Fraker recreated flat 1960s sitcom lighting for the interior scenes, and how much of the comedy played like a brilliantly choreographed live-action cartoon (very Frank Tashlin-ish). But as skillfully done as they are, the (bawdy) pranks and pratfalls pale beside the one element that I most responded to: Mutrux’s heartbreakingly precise evocation of the end of an era–1965, when everything really was changing in American society ( the 1950s were finally kaput).
    The last shot of the movie always makes me tear up. But then, I’ve already admitted to being a big softie.
    P.S.=Good Lord, Christian!
    “The Chicken” frigging “Chronicles”?!
    …the same movie responsible for inflicting Steve Guttenberg on the world??!! Surely you jest, pops!

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