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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB For A New Week

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23 Responses to “BYOB For A New Week”

  1. SJRubinstein says:

    In yesterday’s NYT Arts & Leisure section, a pull-quote couldn’t help but jump out at me – “A high-octane thrill ride” – The Record, which turns out to be a fairly small-circulation Canadian paper out of Ontario. The quote was referring to the Stratford Festival’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.”
    I have seen “Forum” a few times, including the great Nathan Lane revival in the mid-nineties and, to me, “Forum” is many things, but not a “high-octane thrill ride” and I thought this a pretty hilarious, hyperbolic statement.
    Then, I hunted for the review to see if context meant anything (it’s here: and it turns out, the guy – Joel Rubinoff – was commenting more on the bawdy nature of the production than the show itself – sort of.
    The pull comes from:
    “Forum, in the end, is theatre for people who think they hate theatre, a high-octane thrill ride as giddy and accessible as it is improbably gauche.”
    I think it’s awesome that Bedford or whoever at the Stratford thought putting such a pull-quote in a NYTimes ad was hilarious and would lead people to be really curious about their revival, but after reading the entire review, I’m still kind of bumping on an attribution that feels more at home on a “G-Force” ad than an evening with “Forum.”
    Which now, of course, makes me what to head to Stratford Fest and see if this revival really COULD be a “high-octane thrill ride” and make me feel there’s no better description for it.

  2. Chairs Missing says:

    A question for people:
    I saw Public Enemies this weekend. I quite liked it & would definitely recommend it to others but, overall, personally, I found it too superficial in its characterizations & too inclined towards standard cinematic mythmaking in its content (not its stylistic choice of using HD) to be the end all-be all ubermasterpiece that some folks seem to feel it is. That’s fine. Different things appeal to different people.
    What I’m really wondering is if the average moviegoer’s opinion/desire to see the film is being heavily influenced by the obnoxious behavior of far too many Mannboys on the net & on the street.
    Seriously, with one obvious exception, it hasn’t been too bad here on The Hot Blog but there are a lot of other sites that show Mann to have some of the most belligerently ardent fans this side of Tarantino & a lot of them have an argument that can be basically be summed up as “Michael Mann is a genius, Public Enemies is the greatest thing ever, & if you don’t agree with me, you are clearly a total mouthbreathing idiot that needs to be sterilized before you can reproduce.”
    As I recall, this was basically the same argument used in defense of the Watchmen film & it didn’t work so well in terms of encouraging Joe Moviegoer to see that one either.
    I am honestly curious how much impact this attitude has in the grand scheme of things. Thoughts?

  3. jeffmcm says:

    I’d say most ‘normal’ people aren’t even aware of such debates.

  4. Wrecktum says:

    I would argue that most normal people don’t even know who Michael Mann is.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Again: The people who read this blog constitute a sliver of a sliver of the moviegoing public. And the people who actually post here constitute a sliver of a sliver of a sliver. David has warned as much several times, and he’s absolutely right. So, to answer your question: Probably very limited impact.

  6. Wrecktum says:

    In other words, a sliver of a sliver of a sliver of a sliver of a sliver.

  7. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Back in the real world a couple of slackers got busted pirating “Bruno” … at a theater not 10 minutes from me.
    Plus one of those slackers has a prior for drug dealing. Good thing he’s not in Cali or Florida, otherwise he’d be held without bond awaiting a trial.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    And here you were blogging when you could have been fighting crime!

  9. David Poland says:

    I’m curious whether you worry about people being influenced to see or to avoid the film, Chairs.

  10. Chairs Missing says:

    I suspect that people may be influenced to avoid the film based upon the antics of the Mannazis. For the record, on a business level, I don’t have a dog in this hunt but, as a film fan, I would prefer it did well because, for all its flaws, it is a very good movie & more intelligent than much contemporary fare. I always root for films like that to do well, even if they did spend way too much money making it as in this case.
    My question was not about any single website. (As I admitted, the Hot Blog hasn’t been nearly as bad about this as some other sites.) It’s more of a generalized tendency that I have noticed both online & in conversations I’ve had or overheard: there are some films & filmmakers that really appear to attract overly antagonistic fans that instead of offering a reasoned case for why the work has merit merely resort to insults that question the right to life of anyone who disagrees with them.
    For whatever reason & through no fault of his own, Michael Mann is one of these filmmakers.
    Personally, with due respect to Joe, Jeff, & Wrecktum, I believe it does have some impact because, directly or indirectly, it feeds into the absolutely crucial but impossible to quantify word of mouth that makes or breaks so many pictures. Like everything that feeds into word of mouth, it’s anecdotal, so I can’t offer scientific evidence to support my argument. Common sense does tell me though that this kind of antagonism isn’t a terribly effective means of convincing others of one’s point of view. As a result, the idea that the hostility of these folks towards dissenting opinion isn’t doing the flick any favors doesn’t seem too farfetched.
    Anyway, it’s just my opinion.

  11. Eric says:

    Nothing speaks more powerfully against hyperbolic antagonism than labeling somebody a “Mannazi.” Well done.

  12. SJRubinstein says:

    I don’t think the “Mannazi’s” influence anybody, but I do think there can be a drawback to having a film’s director mentioned.
    “A SUCH-SUCH FILM” – if you don’t know who the guy is, really, can make you feel out-of-touch and like the movie isn’t for you, only the people who know who “Michael Mann” is.
    With those “9” trailers that are all like, “from visionary director Shane Acker,” I kind of feel like I should know who that is and get it that it’s that short film, but it’s someone else making the judgment call that he’s visionary, not me, so do I trust the marketer’s opinion?

  13. Joe Leydon says:

    Hate to break it to you folks, but if any of you are still Twittering… well, there’s still plenty of room here at The Old Film Critics Home.

  14. Chairs Missing says:

    Touche. However, one, I was making a joke really. Sorry you didn’t find it funny. Two, by failing to offer even a semblance of an actual counterargument that addresses the content of my posts in any substantial fashion & instead restricting yourself to an insult over a single word choice, you prove my point. In so doing, you have failed to convince me of anything other than that I shouldn’t take anything you say seriously in the future. Much in the same way that an overly bellicose Mann fan would fail to convince anyone to see Public Enemies by accusing anyone who doesn’t love it of being a moron.
    As I regard snark oneupmanship & arguing with strangers online as only a slightly less questionable use of time than unnecessary intestinal surgery, I bid you good day, sir.
    Thank you for your response & you raise an interesting point. There is something inherently elitist about the type of marketing you describe, designed to appeal to the niche of film “snobs” or whatever & it is perhaps alienating to the average viewer as a result. Maybe we really aren’t that far apart opinion wise as you are discussing the detrimental impact of elitism on a macro marketing level & I am discussing it on a micro fan level. Both are valid considerations.
    Possibly, a better way to have stated my case is that I believe the “wrong” kinda fan rave does as much damage in terms of negative word of mouth as an unqualified pan. A combative film fan doesn’t convince anyone to see a movie any more than a combative sports fan convinces anyone to support their team. And it’s so weird to me how many film lovers I run into that treat this stuff like a sport.
    Again, thanks for actually responding.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    Chairs Missing, while I’m sure that hyper-aggressive Mann fans could cause negative word-of-mouth, it really is a sliver of a sliver of a sliver – the number of people who could be turned off by what you propose could probably be outweighed by having Johnny Depp appear on one TV show. And we’re not talking about people literally giving the movie bad word-of-mouth, we’re talking about fan culture, something two or three degrees removed from the actual movie.
    In other words, it all seems very insignificant.

  16. Lota says:

    wow. never realized Michael Mann had such legions of combative fans (seriously?). Must be mild featherweight combat compared to comic book folk.
    My Pop loves Michael Mann yet doesn’t know it. It started with The Jericho Mile, my favorite TV movie as a wean.
    I try to pay as little attention to marketing as possible as it can be so misleading. I prefer seeing my future film exposure to be a trailer or going to a film festival but I don;t go to them often now, like I did through the 90s.

  17. don lewis (was PetalumaFilms) says:

    In other news….
    I’ve decided to put my money where my Don Murphy is and step away from the written word for a bit by co-producing my first film. It’s a horror film being directed by The Butcher Brothers who did “The Hamiltons” a few years back. While I’m super excited, it’s also incredibly daunting and scary. However, the script is killer, the cast is amazing and our DP is the f-ing man. We just wrapped day 2 and I’m pooped.
    Those who are twitter inclined can follow along at:

  18. Nicol D says:

    Congratulations. I know we do not always see eye to eye but producing a film is a major accomplishment for someone. I hope it goes well.
    I have a meeting soon for one of my own.

  19. leahnz says:

    what is ‘retweet’? sounds like something elmer fudd would say
    (give ’em hell, don lewis)

  20. Joe Leydon says:

    Don: Good luck.

  21. don lewis (was PetalumaFilms) says:

    Thanks all!
    leah- a retweet is when you sent out a twitter message someone else already sent.

  22. frankbooth says:

    Good luck and stay human, Don!

  23. LexG says:

    How come none of you LIGHTWEIGHTS are ever up KICKIN’ IT (TM BYRON ALLEN) at 4AM?
    Fuck, I got a job to do too, but you don’t see me falling into bed in my PJs at 10pm like a tuck-n’-snug pussy. 4 FUCKING AM, and I’m on beer 11 and BEAM #6, and no plans on sleeping til at LEAST 7am.
    In other words, BE AN INDIVIDUAL and stop living your life according to THE MAN’S clock.
    Whatever that means.
    Like, if you have a JOB, just go in at 3pm and tell them you’ll show up when you goddamn feel like it. GOOD IDEA.

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