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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – It's Friday

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16 Responses to “BYOB – It's Friday”

  1. The Big Perm says:

    I thought I was officially tired of zombie movies, but that new trailer for Zombieland looks pretty awesome.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    Being a cat owner, I have no trouble believing this alibi.

  3. The Big Perm says:

    Ha ha…”it was unclear if he has an attorney.”
    My guess is no!

  4. Blackcloud says:

    When did Roger Ebert become such a mindless reactionary?

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Blackcloud: I can’t say I see much in the piece I disagree with. Especially the part about the dumbing down of America. I’ve been teaching at the university level for only nine years, but even in that relatively short amount of time, I’ve seen a genuinely scary downturn in the ability of students to express themselves coherently in their writing. But it doesn’t end there. Just last night — I swear to God — I had a student (who’d recently flunked a multiple choice mid-term) tell me: “Well, I’m not much of a moviegoer. And I have a hard time remembering names.” Which, of course, explains why she thought US Marines fought German saboteurs, not Japanese soldiers, in Guadalcanal Diary — a movie she saw all of one week before she took the exam.

  6. adorian says:

    Just saw Julie and Julia. Streep is amazing. I have never before seen a movie during which the audience fell in love with a character within the first 30 seconds. That’s probably because they already know Julia Child and they have seen the TV ads with Streep doing that voice. This audience was middle-aged and elderly. They loved the movie, laughing at the right places and “oooo”ing at the food items. This won’t be about first weekend box office. This is one of those strong word-of-mouth movies among the elderly that will be around for some time (I hope).

  7. Blackcloud says:

    Joe, I don’t disagree that there are a lot of dumb college students, having taught a fair share of them myself. And I was teaching history, so I would venture what I saw was a lot worse than what you did. But I have a hard time extrapolating that to any larger insight about the culture. And the reason I say it’s a reactionary argument is that the claims of “dumbing down” often means merely that the succeeding generation doesn’t know – or value – what the preceding generation did. Or as the immortal Joseph Priestley put it in lapidary fashion in the seminal “Essay on the First Principles of Goverment,” “The wisdom of one generation will ever be folly in the next.”
    We’ve all heard the term “old school.” It is itself an old school term. I’ve run across it in American writing from the early 19th century. So the idea that there was a new school is at least that old. And in reality, it’s been around as long as school has been around. I mean, it’s the whole point of “The Clouds.” So if an argument was first formulated by Aristophanes, it’s not exactly cutting edge.
    Again, I don’t disagree that the young can be ignorant and should know stuff that they don’t, or like what they oughtn’t, or whatever. But taking that as evidence of the collapse of civilization is by definition a reactionary argument. Just as it was when it was Elvis that was destroying society, or Marx, or Hegel, or Voltaire, or Locke, or Dante, or Stravinsky, or Star Wars, or Transformers, or Harry Potter. And just as it will be whenever the next barbarian horde comes menacingly close to the gates, whatever form it takes.
    The fear of decline is perhaps innate in the concept of civilization; I imagine you can’t have the belief in progress without it. So don’t worry, Joe, one day our students will grow up.

  8. dietcock says:

    Joe: Wow. Just wow.

  9. Blackcloud says:

    Joe, I saw, if not worse, then equally bad. If I have time I’ll try to dredge some examples up.

  10. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Roger Ebert a mindless reactionary? Ask me why that essay kept causing my browser to crash at work.
    As for “G.I. Joe” we finally have a review in the mainstream media and it’s in the style only the Brits can pull off.

  11. martin says:

    I’m not a big Gilliam fan, but I have to say I was impressed with the new Parnassus trailer. Anyone else see it? Looks like classic Gilliam, and the multiple actors in lead role also seems to work (though obviously hard to tell in trailer):

  12. Blackcloud says:

    Chucky, because the Russians were out to get you?

  13. Blackcloud says:

    Joe, off the top of my head, my favorite all-time howler:
    “In the early days of exploration, death was inevitable.”

  14. christian says:

    Ebert nails it here:
    “This trend coincides with the growing effectiveness of advertising and marketing campaigns to impose box office success on heavily-promoted GCI blockbusters, which are themselves often promotions for video games. No checks and balances prevail. The mass media is the bitch of marketing. Almost every single second of television coverage of the movies is devoted to thinly-veiled promotion. Movie stars who appear as guests on talk shows and cable news are almost always there because they have a new movie coming out. Smart-ass satirical commentary, in long-traditional in places like Mad magazine and SNL, is drowned out by celebrity hype. It was Mad that first got me thinking like a critic and analyzing popular culture.”

  15. don lewis (was PetalumaFilms) says:

    I wish Ebert had extended the quote christian brought to “Oscar” films. Much as box office success is imposed on big money eye candy, overwrought/overacted/over paid for “Oscar” bait is almost always pre-annointed. That’s why I was so thrilled about Slumdog sneaking in.

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