MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB Friday

There is a certain joy in a week like this. Mortensen, Herzog, Harrelson, Ben Foster, Amy Gilliam, and Eva Mendes were just some of the very talented group I got to spend time with and chat.
The only problem with that is, I don’t get to spend much time doing the blog.
My apologies.
And now, you’ll have to excuse me again as I head off to speak to a first time filmmaker, a veteran documentarian, and Ms. Michelle Monaghan. And there’s more tomorrow, including a living legend. Yay.
I will be around more over the weekend.

Be Sociable, Share!

55 Responses to “BYOB Friday”

  1. IOIOIOI says:

    Dave, if you put up a new BYOB each day. Everything will be cool. You do not have to be here. If you give us a place to converse. You dig?

  2. IOIOIOI says:

    If you provide a BYOB each day. Everything should be cool. So in the morning, post a BYOB, and go out and live your life. We will just be here wondering why Lex gets to be such a mischievous boy!

  3. movieman says:

    Just got in from a late matinee of “The Box” (no pre-release screenings in Cleveland: I’d assumed that it was a nationwide press blackout until seeing reviews in a few national pubs this A.M.).
    Kelly is my man and I wasn’t disappointed. Like his two previous movies, this is a brilliant piece of filmmaking: chilling, utterly despairing and almost profound.
    Don’t let the tepid-at-best reviews deter you from seeing this if you’re a Kelly fan. It’s already reserved a place on my ’09 best list.
    P.S.= Started working on my “best of the decade” package, and “Donnie Darko” is honing in on the #1 spot.

  4. Stella's Boy says:

    Donnie Darko might be your best of the decade?! It’s a pretty good debut feature for a young filmmaker, but it wouldn’t even make my top 10 of 2001. Different strokes I guess.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    So David: Paranormal Activity could hit $100 million this weekend. Are we going to see the shoe-eating-video Sunday evening? Or Monday morning?

  6. bulldog68 says:

    Joe, if you mention that shoe-eating one more time, I seriously believe that Dave will have you eating that shoe. And not from the orifice you’re supposed to eat it. Get my drift?

  7. bulldog68 says:

    I meant eat it ‘with’.

  8. LYT says:

    There were a LOT of people at the Arclight Thursday midnight to see PRECIOUS. I don’t know what that bodes, but the crowd seemed to include many who had never been to the Arclight before, as they were surprised by assigned seating.
    Also, Arclight tickets are now apparently $15.50 every day, unless you order online, where the old prices still apply.
    Makes sense, I suppose, now that even the crappiest AMC charges $12 for prime-time showings.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Movieman, glad to hear good word about The Box. I’m curious, how do you rationalize the interesting mess that was Southland Tales (and don’t get me wrong – I didn’t dislike it – but I did think it was a mess).

  10. LYT says:

    Yup yup. Chicks DIG SHOES.
    HOW can you be happy if you have crappy shoes? You MUST EAT THEM.
    If I can’t get Poland to EAT HIS SHOES, I will KILL MYSELF.
    18 more beers to go. DAMN.

  11. lazarus says:

    I can’t believe people still continue to fill the coffers of the bourgeois greed monster that is Arclight.
    Me? I paid $7 to see A Serious Man at the Pasadena Laemmle’s, and $2 to see Bright Star at the Regency Academy a couple blocks away.
    And that’s still several dollars less than it would have cost me to see ONE film at that elitist mecca.
    Burn the fucking place down; it’s a cancer on the film community, and its presence is the reason all the other theatres jacked up their prices (Grauman’s Chinese and The Grove used to be much cheaper before it opened).

  12. leahnz says:

    is DP allowed to marinate the shoe first? so long as it’s leather, if you marinate the shoe for a day or two in soy sauce with a bit of ginger, garlic, sesame oil and brown sugar, it would probably be like eating a strip of really, really, really tough teriyaki-flavour beef jerky

  13. leahnz says:

    i’m a big fan of ‘donnie darko’ (personally i prefer the theatrical cut over the director’s version tho), so i give kelly the benefit of the doubt
    (he seems like he was suffering from a high fever when he made ‘southland tales’, brief stretches of lucidity between bouts of delirium)

  14. LYT says:

    lazarus: find me another theater in the LA area that shows new movies Thursday midnights, and I’ll go. Par for the job, to catch the non-screening flicks ASAP.
    Only other one I know is the Grove…but it doesn’t have a bar, or a nearby subway stop.
    leahnz: my grandfather ate pieces of his leather belt while starving in a German POW camp, and he made it to age 86. So it can work.

  15. LYT says:

    Southland Tales could have worked with a better D.P. and more money for CG effects. Whole thing just looked so horribly cheap.

  16. dietcock says:

    LYT: The Pacific Culver City does Thursday midnight shows of upcoming releases. And as for “Southland Tales,” nothing could have saved that movie, sorry. Just because the frat boy thinks he’s Thomas Pynchon doesn’t make him Thomas Pynchon.

  17. LYT says:

    Culver City is IMPOSSIBLE with public transportation from where I’m at.
    Many years of waiting an hour for the bus from Sony after 7:30 screenings have taught me that.

  18. stfic says:

    lazarus: That might be the most ridiculous comment I’ve read here in a while. Arclight might be the only place in town where movies sound as they are supposed to (just talk to anyone who knows about this stuff, there’s no comparison to that theater when it comes to sound quality). Coupled this with the fact that chances to have your moviegoing experience ruined by people walking into the theater in the middle of the show and people talking throughout the movie are considerably lower at Arclight makes me glad that this option is available for which I’m definitely willing to spend the few extra dollars whenever I really want to see a movie.

  19. LYT says:

    I do have to add…
    “Grauman’s Chinese and The Grove used to be much cheaper before it opened”
    That was EIGHT YEARS ago.
    Name any theater that hasn’t gone way up since then.

  20. leahnz says:

    oh my goodness, LYT, i have heard of such things, apologies for sounding like an insensitive ass. having a loved-one suffer through (and thankfully survive to tell the tale and live a long life) such an ordeal must make it feel a bit close to home

  21. leahnz says:

    ^^ re: your grandad, in case that isn’t clear

  22. LYT says:

    Nahh, I think he’d have laughed at the reference to. The death is a bit fresh…going to the UK for his memorial shortly.
    I only really heard about the leather thing recently…though I did know he and his fellow inmates ate a cat. Never did ask him how it tasted — I’m sure he’d have been forthcoming.

  23. bulldog68 says:

    LYT, I get the feeling your dear grandad would’ve said “tastes like chicken” while licking his fingers.

  24. bulldog68 says:

    Finke is reporting a $9.4M friday for A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Seems somewhat less than those involved hoped it would open to, but as pointed out, 3D and christmas themed flicks seem to have some legs when they open in early November. ELF opened to $31M on Nov 7th before going on to gross $171M, so there’s still hope for CHRISTMAS CAROL. But I as well did expect a bit more on opening weekend.

  25. torpid bunny says:

    Isn’t Bill Murray a slam-dunk to voice Yogi bear? And he’s already shown that he’s quite willing to go there. I don’t understand the Dan Aykroyd choice at all. If the producers don’t get their act together the true fans will band together and tear this franchise down, just like they did to Transformers.

  26. bulldog68 says:

    Torpid Bunny said “If the producers don’t get their act together the true fans will band together and tear this franchise down, just like they did to Transformers.”
    What a successful uprising. It ‘only’ made $400M at the box office.

  27. torpid bunny says:

    You’ve obviously forgotten all about this
    “The most vocal talkbackers, forum members, website owners, etc, desperately want to be supporters of a live action TRANSFORMERS movie. Unfortunately, what they are seeing doesn’t work for them and if that’s all they see, you’ll feel the bite next summer. Non geeks will go see this because it’s a huge event movie, but the geeks will be the ones that give it legs, that will come back over and over again, bringing their friends, family, etc. They’re also the ones that can taint this movie with negative buzz a year out, like what’s going on here.”
    Are you listening James Cameron? We will break you.

  28. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Looks like movieman saw the trailer for “The Box”. Why else does he reference “Donnie Darko”?
    @torpidbun: Hollywood now has to shite in a pic-a-nic basket.

  29. Stella's Boy says:

    Wait, what? Transformers made $710 million worldwide and the second one made $833 million. That doesn’t even count DVD sales. Am I missing something?

  30. bulldog68 says:

    I cant recall a single moment in box office history where geeks propelled a movie to box office superstardom. If anything when a movie fails to break out of geekdom is when it fails at the box office and not the reverse. There just are not enough geeks to do 200M at the box office. See WATCHMEN as an example.
    I think from the time the geeks heard that Bay was doing TRANSFORMERS they knew this would not be the movie they had hoped for. Bay does not do geek, ever. Bay does POPULIST. And with Spielberg attached, well all hope for a geek centrist film is all but gone.
    Geeks didn’t power DARK KNIGHT to $400M. They propelled HELLBOY 2 to $75M and the aforementioned WATCHMEN to $107M. That’s about the limit of their power. The general movie going audience doesn’t listen to the geeks because they don’t care much whether STAR TREK is true to the Roddenberry ethic, or whether Pepper Potts is a blonde or brunette, or whether the costume is true to its comic origin, they just want to be entertained, source material be damnmed.
    If Transformers 3 takes a dive at the box office, it won’t be because of the geeks, it would be because it left a bad aftertaste on the sensory of the populist movie going audience.

  31. bulldog68 says:

    One other thing, you don’t spend a reported $300M on AVATAR to please geeks. You spend that to please everyone, and you just hope that in that mix, the geeks are pleased as well.

  32. christian says:

    Bill Murray isn’t known for his mimicry, while Dan Ackroyd certainly is (i.e., his dead-on Jack Webb).
    And I don’t think there’s more than six rabid fans of the Yogi Bear “franchise.” Not even AICN talkbackers give a shit about Yogi Bear.

  33. movieman says:

    I saw an “Invictus” poster in the lobby of my neighborhood theater yesterday, and was surprised to see that it had a date (“December 11th”) affixed. This was in NE Ohio, mind you; not LA or NYC.
    Is Warner Brothers planning to go wide on that date instead of employing their usual platform strategy for Eastwood’s year-end awards hopefuls? Considering the (relative) dearth of major studio wide releases slated for this December, I can almost see their logic.
    Fox Searchlight’s decision to open “Crazy Heart” for awards consideration on December 16th officially puts the kibbosh on my fantasy/theory of FS opening John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole” next month. Guess we’ll have to wait until NEXT fall to see the film, even though it finished shooting in July and could very well have been ready in time for a last-minute awards season launch.
    Maybe “Crazy” will be Jeff Bridges’ dry run for the career Oscar he finally wins next year for the Coens’ “True Grit.” (And am I the only one chomping at the bits for “Grit”?)
    It’s kind of ironic that Sony Classics has more movies opening next month than any of the majors (“Broken Embraces,” “White Ribbon,” Gilliam, “The Last Station,” “A Prophet”). Hope they aren’t spreading themselves too thin: each of those movies deserve, and would greatly benefit from, SPC’s typical TLC marketing.

  34. movieman says:

    Uh, because Kelly directed “Donnie Darko,” Chucky, and because all of his films (“DD,” “Southland Tales,” “The Box”) have the same cosmic, the apocalypse-is-nigh frisson.
    The “Box” trailer kind of amused me since WB was clearly aiming for mainstream horror fans, most of whom are probably unfamiliar with “Donnie Darko.”
    Selling it as “…from the writer of ‘I am Legend'” would have probably been more commecially savvy.

  35. torpid bunny says:

    I’m sorry bulldog, it’s a joke. I’m still laughing about that stupid transformers rant. I hope that dude is getting paid to have hysterical tantrums about trivial aspects of dumb movies. I know that level of dumb characterizes like 80% of the internet, but I just found his rhetorical excess hilarious.

  36. yancyskancy says:

    I don’t think Bill Murray would do Yogi Bear after this little exchange:
    “Any regrets?”
    “Garfield, maybe…”

  37. lazarus says:

    For the record, LYT, I’m aware that it’s been eight years. My point was that before the Arclight opened, you could see a matinee at the Grauman’s Chinese (or at least the ones inside Hollywood & HIghland) or The Grove for somewhere in the neighborhood of $7. Very soon after the Arclight opened, The Grove suddenly decided it was a prestige theatre as well and bye-bye reasonable prices; admission went up $4 or $5 in one markup! The Chinese followed suit not-too-long after that.
    There’s a difference between gradual inflation and one theatre creating a market where there wasn’t one before–a place where assholes can sit in a barca-lounger and order quiche and chardonnay to enjoy while watching the film. That ain’t the movies to me. Sure the projection and sound quality is better, but it’s not worth paying a markup of 250-400% to get it; I’ll buy the DVD for posterity if I like the film. Also, I constantly read stories about terrible assigned-seating experiences, so that’s not really a bonus, either.

  38. Telemachos says:

    I love the Arclight — both in Hollywood and Sherman Oaks. I love not having to even think about going and having to wait in line or buy tickets at the theater — now I just book ’em online and don’t give it a second thought. From entering the theater to arriving at my seat takes 30 seconds… and since I can see the seating chart online, I get to pick my spot or just go to another showtime.
    Yeah, it costs more, but the total convenience combined with the nicer seats and good presentation (and generally better-behaved crowds) makes it all worth it.

  39. leahnz says:

    condolences on your grandad, LYT. Mine has been gone for ages and i still talk to him, esp. in my dreams. he’s always giving me good advice
    “(And am I the only one chomping at the bits for “Grit”?)”
    no way, movieman, i’m totally psyched for the coen’s “grit”
    “One other thing, you don’t spend a reported $300M on AVATAR to please geeks”
    bloody hell, for the kazillionth time don’t just blindly believe what you read and then repeat it as if it were true, which it ain’t

  40. LYT says:

    The geek audience, for a sci-fi superhero movie, function a bit like the religious right for the Republican party. It’s the base, and you have to play to them a little bit in order to do blockbuster business — but to win, you have to have a majority of almost everyone.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    I also give thumbs up to the Arclight.
    Movieman, look out – you’ve been infected with the name-checking bug! You’ve just lost all esteem with Chucky.

  42. LYT says:

    Here’s the thing…unless the entire national AMC chain was reacting to the Arclight…their prices have been very similar for a while, even at the terribly run AMC-30 at The Block in OC, which was my regular hangout when I lived there.
    $12 for an evening show. Until recently, that was also the non-weekend price at Arclight…and unlike The Block, they generally close the auditorium doors, clean the restrooms, refrain from endless preshows featuring Kid Rock commercials for the National Guard and the Metropolitan Opera, and keep kids from just randomly wandering from theater to theater.
    LexG used to have plenty of horror stories about the Arclight on weekends…I simply never go on weekends. I also like front-row seats, and thus usually don’t get anyone sitting around me.

  43. movieman says:

    Glad to hear that, Leah.
    I know that remakes are usually considered a dirty word (and the Coens’ previous remake, 2004’s “The Ladykillers,” is probably my least favorite of their films).
    But I love the original “Grit,” and can’t wait to see what the Coen boys have in store for their “reimagining.” The source novel was actually a lot closer to, say, Cormac McCarthy than most people realize (probably because they haven’t read it), so a “No Country” take on the material thrills me to no end. Plus, the genius casting thrills me to no end.
    Bridges (how sweet would it be for him to finally win an Oscar for the same role that won the Duke his equally delayed
    Oscar?), Damon, Brolin….and you just know they’re going to search far and wide to find the perfect, where-did-they-find-her?! 14-year-old to play the girl who hires Rooster to find her pa’s killer. (Abigail Breslin need not apply; thank heavens.)
    I hope they use the original Glen Campbell theme song: maybe they could get Jack White or even Dwight Yoakam to do a new version of that still hummable tune.
    Has anyone else been watching “The Next Iron Chef” on the Food Network? I was delighted to see Nate Appleman get axed last week. What a smug, smarmy prick. Ate at his James Beard-winning (?!) A-16 last summer, and thought it was egregiously overrated. I was amused at how Appleman developed selective amnesia about his San Francisco roots after setting his grubby, spotlight-loving sights on Manhattan. His F/Network tag didn’t even mention A-16 or SF.

  44. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t mean this as snark or insult, just a simple observation: Whenever so many of the regulars here engage in an extended conversation about the merits of this or that movie theater in L.A., I am reminded what an relatively insular community this blog is. Again, just an observation, not a criticism. And, of course, there are several “outsiders” who contribute to the mix. (Even hotties from as far away as New Zealand.) On the other hand: It’s something I can’t help remembering whenever someone here makes a sweeping generalization about “everybody” having forgotten some Oscar winner, or “nobody” wanting to see some actor or actress in another movie, or whatever. And, yeah, as I have noted before: I have to wonder how many folks here snipe at certain successful actors or filmmakers because their own careers are stalled, or unsatisfying. In fact, I’ll go so far as to theorize that LexG creeps out a few of you — not all of you, but a few — not so much because of what he says, or how he says it, but because you look at him and think: “That’s a little too close to home…”

  45. movieman says:

    that second “…thrills me to no end” should have properly concluded with “as well.”
    yikes; sorry, gang.
    my imbibing of pre-dinner Cabernet is beginning to take its toll.

  46. movielocke says:

    I live on the westside so the cheap pasadena movies aren’t an option for me.
    I go to the Landmark a lot more often nowadays than the arclight. it’s not as good, but sound wise it’s pretty solid.
    The advantage to Arclight hollywood, Front row seats are at least a screen height away from the screen, so they are actually some of best seats in the house rather than the worst (sherman oaks arclight doesn’t have this, which is why it’s not as good). Arclight’s projection is the best in the business, the only theatre competitive is the samuel goldwyn, but they don’t show new releases. Bulb quality makes a massive difference to my eye, and that’s where the Landmark really doesn’t match up to Arclight at all.
    The culver city pacific is alright, but it doesn’t match up to the grove, even, but its probably the most reasonably priced acceptable quality of video and audio on the westside. never see a 3D movie there, it’s so dark its unpleasant.
    The bridge is really the most overpriced theatre in LA, but they’ve gotten way better over the years, imo. I actually think their projection bulb and projection staff quality is a bit better than Landmark’s.
    Also isn’t it a shame that most months of the year the Aero has the best programming of any repertory house but their seats are absolute shit, the projection is uneven despite often having really stellar prints. it always saddens me when I make the occasional trudge up to the Egyptian that the experience is so incredibly superior there.
    I used to hate the Century City AMC theatre because of the parking, but since they’ve put in the amazing new red light/green light system I’ve found I enjoy movies there a lot more. 😉 I also like their late-night and pre-noon prices, it’s nice to have a theatre other than the Bridge that has late shows on the weekend.

  47. KristenStewartIsAwesome says:

    Whooooooooooooooooooooooo’s High Pitch?

  48. LYT says:

    Don’t get me started on the Landmark’s seats. First three-four rows were never intended to even view the screen. (as per their spokespeople on opening night)
    Yet at LAFF? All seats filled.
    Bridge has a good IMAX, at least.

  49. Chucky in Jersey says:

    All the better to enjoy the comic book, franchise, game-based, remake, sequel and TV-based movies that Hollywood is overdosing on. Some boffins have even come up with a mathematical formula to calculate whether sequels will work or not.
    @movielocke: The before-noon discount at AMC is chainwide, even in Manhattan.

  50. leahnz says:

    movieman, i heard/read that for their version of ‘true grit’ the brothers are going to adapt portis’ story more faithfully as told from the POV of mattie, which sounds cool so i hope it’s true

  51. movieman says:

    I read the same thing, Leah. And since the book is closer in style and sensibility to “NCFOM,” it seems like a natural Coen fit. While I normally abhor the very idea of remakes, this is one re-
    do–in theory anyway–that thrills me to no end.
    Btw, read your “Christmas Carol” comments on another blog-post and wanted to chime in with my two (one?) cents worth. For my coinage, “CC” is Zemeckis’ most tolerable “performance-capture” flick to date (of course, I loathed “Polar Express” and was lukewarm-at-best on “Beowulf,” so I might not be the best judge).
    He seems to have finally perfected the whole p/capture thing-y as well as it can possibly be done. The question that continues to nag me is, “Why?” I’d rather see flesh-and-blood actors–even f&b actors awash in bluescreen CGI–than digital simulacrums any day.
    I’m really worried that Zemeckis has become another George Lucas: so obsessed with technology and gimmicks that he’s lost touch with his soul/humanity.
    Will he ever make movies as good as (take your pick):
    “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Used Cars,” “Back to the Future 1,” “Roger Rabbit,” “Death Becomes Her,” “Forrest Gump” (yes, “Forrest Gump”) and “Castaway” again? From this vantage point, I’m guessing “nope.” And that’s just sad.
    P.S.= None of those films were in 3-D.

  52. scooterzz says:

    i read the portis book in it’s original release and, for the most part, loved it…but, while i found the gimmick of eliminating contractions to be amusing in the book, if the coens adopt that aspect for the script, i think the film could be pretty annoying…..

  53. leahnz says:

    scoot, just to be an idiot, do you mean there are no contractions in the book in the grammatical sense?
    movieman, glad to hear someone at least read my comment on ‘freaky zemeckis animation’! i, too, wish he’d lay off the mo-cap and get back to live action, he’s like a man on a mission with no particular talent for his obsession, really quite bizarre

  54. Cadavra says:

    We already know Lex’s take on NEW MOON.
    And Taylor Swift’s been “legal” for at least three years now.

  55. LYT says:

    Yeah but Taylor Lautner, the werewolf dude, is like 17.
    Not that his parents are likely to press charges or anything.

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