MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

Wilmington on DVDs: Terminator Salvation, Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Tale, Night at the Museum, Paper Heart, Flame and Citron and more…

Terminator Salvation (Also Director’s Cut and Blu-Ray) (Two Stars)
U. S.; McG, 2009 (Warner)

Terminator Salvation — a big, roaring, burn-down-the-planet sequel to the Terminator trilogy set in the future — tries to be a new super-apocalyptic nightmare worthy of its Terminating predecessors: a cine-techno-bloodbath where man battles machine, cyborg battles mini-copter, robot battles android, rebels battles mechano-tyrant, bombshell commando battles robo-snake, guerillas battle the future, CG whizzes battle scriptwriters, and everything possible gets blown to techno-hell.For two frantic, futuristic hours, all these combatants rage through a fancy but poisonous-looking landscape of dusty waste and devastation, where the worst fears of Global Warning prophets seem to have combined with the direst fantasies of cyber-haters and survivalists to create a Road Warrior-gone-mad landscape that not even poor little Wall-E could sweeten or enliven.

In the original Terminator, one of the great sci-fi horror movies of the ‘80s, Arnold Schwarzenegger played a cyborg from the future, whose mission was to find and kill the mother (Linda Hamilton) of the boy (later played by Edward Furlong in T2) who will grow up to be John Connor, the legendary Resistance leader. It’s that John Connor, grown up, who will lead humanity to triumph over the triumphant, tyrannical machines of Skynet, set to unleash waves of cyber and robo-horror on Judgment Day, 2004 (the year of George W. Bush‘s second inauguration).

In this movie, Connor (Christian Bale) has grown to adulthood, the planet is a bloody mess (it looks, in fact, as if Bush and Cheney had never left office), and Connor and bellicose human military leader General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) — who acts as if his role models were Generals Jack D. Ripper and Buck Turgidson of Dr. Strangelove — are set to attack the machine armies. (Ashdown isn’t shy about killing human hostages and prisoners as well). Another cyborg and T800, using the brain and body of executed murderer Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) is in the mix, hunting through the blighted landscape, for…..Well, can we be sure what his prey really is?

Gov. Schwarzenegger, star and villain-turned-hero mainstay of the first three Terminator movies, isn’t around here. A pity. But somebody somehow has whipped up an Arnie cameo-clone, and the California guy’s hero-or-villain shoes are otherwise filled by both Bale as the human Resistance Messiah Connor and Australian actor Sam Worthington as super-robo-commando Marcus. (Worthington, who won an Australian Film Institute best actor prize for Somersault, may win stardom here too.) Somebody is also clearly thinking of even more sequels down the pike here, perhaps stretching all the way to 2018, when this movie is supposed to be taking place. But, though it’s well enough done in its ultra-video game-ish way, I found no cause for Hallelujahs.

Terminator Sal is exciting, but I wouldn’t call it a good time. Directed by the razzly-dazzly video-maker McG of Charlie’s Angels movie ill-fame, and written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris. the team who worked on Terminator 3 and David Fincher‘s The Game, and also committed Catwoman, it’s dark and horrific-looking, set in a wasteland full of blood, carnage and gadgetry, slicked up with all the virtuosic ugliness that modern movie technology can muster. (Robot master Stan Winston, who designed the first Schwarzenegger T800 robot, gets a last hurrah in the credits.)

Ever since 1984, when Schwarzenegger’s first Terminator first popped up in L. A., growling “I’ll be back,” and menacing Linda Hamilton, a battle involving time travel conspiracies has been going on in this series, as the destructo masterminds of the all-embracing Skynet try to change the future by altering the past. Here we see not only the grown-up John (Bale), but — courtesy of the convolutions and paradoxes of time travel — we meet his father-as-a-kid, Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), and hear his mom-as-a-recording (Hamilton).
Also around for the wild ride — as Marcus aids Connor by going after Kyle and then gets caught up in the climactic robo-showdown — is ultra-tot Star (played by Jadagrace), mysterious cancer victim Dr. Serena Kogan (played, in a waste of her time, by Helena Bonham Carter) and rough-and-tough model commando Blair (played by the aptly named new action-heroine Moon Bloodgood). Along the way, various people or robots find their humanity, which is in short supply.

Schwarzenegger became a superstar in the 1984 Terminator and there’s an irony in the fact that his star-making part was as a killer robot lost in the past. Cameron put a wry, dark comedy edge into The Terminator — and Schwarzenegger also had it in his performance. But that fun has been much less evident ever since they made the dubious decision to turn A. S.’s T800 from pure villain to pure hero in T2. This movie is about as funny and enjoyable as a massacre in a sandstorm. Or as a perpetual Charlie’s Angels movie marathon, programmed during a polar cap meltdown.

After a while watching Terminator Salvation, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Yet this is exactly the kind of movie that the modern American studio system is geared and programmed to make these days, over and over again. That’s not a very consoling thought. Why couldn‘t we be making modern equivalents of Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Singin’ in the Rain, The Godfather, North by Northwest, On the Waterfront, His Girl Friday, Stagecoach, or Some Like It Hot? (Except for Citizen Kane, those were all popular movies.) Why are we continually stuck in the middle of all these bloody techno-rampages, cast-gone-wild sex comedies and apocalyptic bash-o-thons? Give me a break! Maybe the machines have won.


A Christmas Tale (Four Stars)
France; Arnaud Desplechin, 2008 (Criterion)

The Vuillards — the central family and focal point of Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale, — are a bourgeois French clan, boisterous and lively on the surface but seething underneath with dark secrets, resentments and little tragedies. Their Christmas gathering this year, in Desplechin’s radiant, smart, lovely ensemble film, is probably the most emotionally dangerous they’ve ever had.

Mama Junon (played by Catherine Deneuve, still a knockout at 65), is suffering from leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant, perhaps from one of her family. It’s the same strain of leukemia that, decades ago, killed her first son Joseph as a child and started a chain of family guilts, grievings and angers that lasts to this day.

Papa Abel (played by Jean-Paul Roussillon) is a factory owner and dye-maker much older than his dazzling wife, an earthy old soul who seems almost out of place in his chic family. (Did Michel Piccoli sneak in and beat his time?) Henri (played by the prolific Mathieu Amalric, star of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), is a scapegrace theatre guy, drunk and womanizer, despised by his elder sister Elizabeth (Anne Consigny). Elizabeth has won a court decision to keep Henri away from her and therefore most of the family; Henri has managed to wangle an invitation this year, partly because his blood type matches his mother and he’s a plausible transplant candidate.

Henri is also with his fiercely proud Jewish girlfriend Faunia (Emmanuelle Devos), who avoids Christmas like Scrooge. Elizabeth’s husband, Claude (Hippolyte Girardot) hates Henri too, and their breakdown-prone son Paul (Emile Berling) complicates matters because he also happens to match medically with Grand’Mere Junon.

The youngest son, Ivan (Melvil Popaud) is a free spirit whose wife Sylvia (Chiara Mastroianni, the real-life daughter of Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni) is about to make an eye-opening discovery about her marriage and about Ivan’s pal, moody cousin Simon (Laurent Capelluto). The revelation comes courtesy of Rosaimee (Francoise Bertin \), connected to the family because she was Abel’s wife’s lover. As for Basile and Baptiste (Thomas and Clement Obled ), they’re a pair of cherubic twins, the innocents in this lost Eden.

Many of these actors are Desplechin regulars and among the leading lights of contemporary French cinema. In any case, this is a great cast and ensemble, and Desplechin and fellow writer Emmanuel Boride, have given them great roles to play, while the camera of cinematographer Eric Gautier prowls and captures them at will.

There’s a striking similarity between Tale and Jonathan Demme’s and Jenny Lumet’s Rachel Getting Married. But I actually prefer Desplechin’s film. The beauty of A Christmas Tale lies in the fact that it sees its characters and their problems with such a clear eye, but still manages to love them. Desplechin bathes his people in the luminous fairy strains of Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream music, perhaps to signal that even in this flesh-and-blood French celebration, something magical is about to happen.

Desplechin, had many of the same actors in Kings and Queen; in both films he shows that he’s a real French humanist in the Jean Renoir school. A Christmas Tale is a wonderful, intelligent, lovingly crafted ensemble film of the kind Renoir and Robert Altman used to give us, that Mike Leigh and Mira Nair give us still — and that Demme gave us in Rachel. I loved it. Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Vive Deneuve! (In French, with English subtitles.)

Extras: Booklet with essay; interviews.

The Wizard of Oz (3 Disc Blu-Ray) (Four Stars)
U. S.; Victor Fleming, King Vidor (Uncredited.), 1939 (Warner)

Some movies appeal to just about everybody — like the heart-stoppingly entertaining and wonderful musical that MGM made in 1939 out of L. Frank Baum’s American fairy tale, The Wizard of Oz.

It’s a movie most of us saw for the first time in childhood and then grew up with though the years. I was 10 when CBS televised it nationally for the first time (in 1956), and I still remember the shock of joy that came over me as I watched it in the living room on Parkhurst Place, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, with my Grampa Axel, Gramma Marie and Mother Edna — all of whom were already very familiar with it — especially when Judy Garland, as Dorothy Gale, stared at the sky above her Hollywood-Kansas barnyard backdrop, let loose those incredible 16-year-old pipes and brought down the house once again with Harold Arlen‘s and E. Y. Harburg’s hair-raising ballad “Over the Rainbow.”

What a song! What a singer! What pure, shattering emotion wrapped in rapturous show biz kitsch! For years, Esquire Magazine made fun of that ballad in their annual Dubious Achievement issues, by recounting exactly how many times Garland had now sung it. (Who was keeping track?) But in fact, I’ll bet those smart alecs were sort of knocked out by it too: The crystalline notes, Judy‘s yearning, faraway gaze toward a somber sky with a storm brewing, and lyrics like “If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why, can’t I?” — stuff that should have made you snort but instead just about broke your heart.

Then there was her fantastic supporting trio: Ray Bolger as the flopsie-mopsie, always-resourceful Scarecrow (“I would not be just a nuffin‘, my head all full of stuffin‘…), Jack Haley, Jr. as the metal-bod, sentimental Tin Man (“I hear a beat! How sweet!”), and Bert Lahr as the boisterous scaredy-cat Cowardly Lion. (“Oh, it’s sad, believe me missy, when you’re born to be a sissy…”

Meeting Dorothy one by one, Singing the three parts of another Arlen-Harburg masterpiece — “If I Only Had a Brain/a Heart/da Noive” — followed by the lusty chorus of “We’re off to see the Wizard!“ the four grand companions, became the most appealing quartet of adventurous buddies since the Three Musketeers and D’Artagnan. (Hovering sadly over them all, though, is the ghostly image of their absent comrade, poor Buddy Ebsen, cast as the Scarecrow, who cheerfully switched parts with the original Tin Man, Bolger, and then lost out completely when he got poisoned and sickened by the spray powder used to make his flesh tin. It took Disney‘s Davy Crockett to bring Ebsen back. And that‘s only one of many dark stories about the Golden Age.)

You‘d also be stumped to find a better nasty, evil witch with a more memorable creepy cackle than Margaret Hamilton‘s supremely malicious Wicked Witch of the West, aka Miss Gulch, or a shinier good witch than Billie Burke‘s winningly sweetie-pie Glinda. Or a more spectacular piece of Midwestern humbuggery and medicine show eloquence than Frank Morgan as Professor Miracle and the Wizard himself (and three other parts too). And what can you say about the Munchkins? (Better not say too much. This is a family movie.)

Judy Garland, just plain great as Dorothy, beat out the most popular child star in America — the most popular Hollywood child movie star ever — when she took the role away from Shirley Temple. And she makes the movie of course; it’s really one of the all time best movie musical performances (and part of Garland‘s own career top three, with Meet Me in St. Louis and the 1954 A Star is Born). Judy‘s Dorothy is a perfect centerpiece and beating heart for Oz, because she plays it with a stunning conviction, and sparkling sincerity that sets off perfectly the glorious ”Smith‘s Premium Ham” clowning and vaudeville of her three fellow travelers — and also because, at least on our second time through, we know that this is Dorothy’s dream, brought on by the cyclone and a head-bonk, and that Oz is her creation — her fairy-tale Kansas — which is why it’s both her paradise and her nightmare.

The Wizard of Oz was directed by two big studio movie masters: Victor Fleming (the Oz scenes) and the uncredited King Vidor (the Kansas prelude and coda). Their styles are not really similar — Vidor was more of a populist poet, Fleming a robust yarn-spinner — yet here, they fuse perfectly. Every single scene jells and works like a charm, whether in the movie’s Kansas or its Oz. And the only times I‘ve ever gotten restive during the dozens of times I’ve seen this film, is, occasionally, during The Cowardly Lion’s florid aria, ‘F I Were King.” (I can always forgive that for every other moment of Lahr’s blow-away performance.) Fleming and Vidor guided the Lion and Dorothy, and all the others, flawlessly.

If you’ve been reading Mike Sragow’s Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master recently — and you should– you may have already bought Sragow’s main thesis that the attractively macho, underrated Fleming, one of the directorial kings of MGM in the ’30s and ’40s, is a critically neglected moviemaking giant, and that the director who made both most of The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind, released the same year — not to mention The Virginian, Red Dust, Bombshell, Treasure Island, Captains Courageous, Test Pilot, and A Guy Named Joe — deserves more than passing mention in any Hollywood pantheon. (My one quarrel with Sragow’s excellent book is that he aims too many potshots and brickbats at Fleming’s best friend and fellow movie ace, Howard Hawks. Old family feuds? Some residue of the Kael-Sarris wars?)

Fleming and Vidor together presided over one of the most charmed and charming movie ensembles ever, transforming Noel Langley’s, Florence Ryerson’s and Edgar Allan Woolf‘s marvelously playful and witty script and Arlen and Harburg‘s fantastic songs — along with that peerless cast — into the stuff of movie magic, a show that never loses its power to grip us and tickle us and make s laugh and cry. It’s the greatest kids (plus adults) movie this side of the rainbow. I loved it when I was 10, watching it with my childhood family. I loved it the last time I saw it,, watching it with my brave 94-year-old Mother Edna, in her hospital room, on a computer on her food table, a few days before she died. I love The Wizard of Oz still. I’m not alone.

Extras: Commentary by Oz-Garland scholar John Fricke; TV Specials “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic” (D: Jack Haley, Jr.) and “Memories of Oz“ ; Featurettes; Video storybook; Profiles; Sing-along feature; Outtakes; Deleted scenes; Harold Arlen’s home movies; Stills and trailer galleries; Recording sessions; Radio shows.



Gimme Shelter (Four Stars)
U.S.; Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin, 1970 (Criterion)

The World’s Greatest Rock n’ Roll Band In the World‘s greatest rock n’ roll documentary. Altamount. Love in Vain. Under My Thumb. Sympathy for the Devil. The death of the ‘60s. “Brothers and sisters, cool yourselves out…” Cinema verite at its peak. ‘Nuff Said.

Extras: Commentary by Albert Maysles, Zwerin and Stanley Goldstein; More stones performances; Excerpts; Outtakes; trailer; Booklet with essay.


Zorro: The Complete First Season 1957-58 (6 Discs) (Three Stars)
U.S.; Various Directors, 1957-58 (Disney)
Zorro: The Complete Second Season 1958-59 (6 Discs) (Three Stars)
U.S.; Various Directors, 1958-59 (Disney)

“Out of the night/ When the full moon is bright/Comes a horseman known as Zorro!

“This bold renegade/carves a “Z” with his blade:/ A “Z” that stands for “Zorro!”

One of the more iconic and addictive of ’50s TV shows was Walt Disney’s half-hour series Zorro, based on the dashing masked Spanish California avenger ( whose real-life identity was his feigned persona of “foppish” Don Diego de la Vega), a Batman like crime fighter originally created (before “Superman“ or “Batman”) by pulp writer Johnston McCulley and incarnated on screen by Doug Fairbanks, Sr., and Tyrone Power. Disney’s Zorro was Guy Williams, a handsome, mustached, athletic chap, assisted in his revolutionary struggles by his mute servant Bernardo (Gene Sheldon), a resourceful silent clown who helped his boss wage war against the oppressors, bedevil various villains and josh his rotund friendly enemy Sgt. Garcia (weightily played by Henry Calvin, who got his BVD‘s slashed with a “Z“ before every episode).

Back in 1958, as a 12-year-old, I loved Zorro so much, I actually insisted on having a bottle of the product of one of the two rotating sponsors products always in my hand while I watched it: fizzy lemon-lime pop 7Up, represented in Zorro‘s TV commercials, by the brash cartoon rooster “Fresh-Up Freddy,” who always began his pitches with a lusty ”Right now, you are probably asking yourself…!” Talk about product loyalty! Luckily I never insisted on having the other rotating sponsor’s product on hand: AC spark plugs. (Their motto was “Action begins with A.C.”)

The show holds up; the best of its episodes tend to be directed (and sometimes written) by old Orson Welles associate Norman Foster (Journey into Fear), who also helmed Disney’s smash hit Davy Crockett Show. But Zorro only lasted two seasons (1957-59), not because of flagging audiences, but because of squabbles with parent network ABC over color and other matters. (The original show was in black and white, and I actually prefer it that way.)

This deluxe set contains all 78 regular episodes, plus the hour long Zorro shows that played on Disney’s Sunday show. Williams, Sheldon and Calvin are an ingratiating trio and the guest stars include the great Ricardo Montalban, Rita Moreno, Gilbert Roland, and big Zorro (and Guy Williams) fan, Mouseketeer Annette Funicello.

The best way to watch them, by the way, is not in a bunch, but one episode a week, just the way you would have watched the TV show. Having 7Up on hand is optional, but I plan on getting a six-pack myself to toast Fresh Up Freddy, hapless Sgt. Garcia, and “the Fox, so cunning and free! Zorro, who makes the sign of the Z!” Ole, Zorro, Ole!

Extras: Intros by Leonard Maltin, featurettes, Disney “Zorro” tie-in shows; booklets.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Two and a Half Stars)
U S.; Shawn Levy, 2009 (20th Century Fox)

Not content with running amok and bringing to life the exhibits in New York City‘s Museum of Natural History, in the strange 2006 comedy hit, from Milan Trenc’s book, Night at the Museum — a gallery of living relics including Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt, Owen Wilson as cowpoke Jedediah, Steve Coogan as Roman hotshot Octavius, Rami Malek as felonious Pharaoh Akhmenrah and a rampaging dinosaur skeleton — ex-night guard turned gadgeteer Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is now on his way to Washington D. C.’s Smithsonian. There, some of his old, beloved exhibits have been sent by nasty Dr. McPhee (an oddly unfunny Ricky Gervais), replaced by virtual “statues” that don’t have the pizzazz of the old bunch.

But surprises await in the nether regions of the Smithsonian. There is a suddenly hyper-active Lincoln Memorial. There‘s nervous Gen. Custer (Bill Hader) who doesn’t want to make his last stand yet. There are Napoleon, Al Capone and Ivan the Terrible (Alain Chabat, Jon Bernthal and Chris Guest) who have hooked up with Akhmenrah’s even eviler brother Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), and are set to wreak all kinds of nocturnal museum-ish havoc.

There’s the beauteous, feisty Amelia Earhart, played by the beauteous, feisty Amy Adams, as adorable an aeronaut as ever wafted over the Pacific and disappeared (and more comfortable in the role than Hilary Swank was). And there’s Jonah Hill as the Smithsonian’s night guard, doing a routine with Stiller that conclusively proves you can’t have two wise guys in one comedy team, unless you’re The Marx Brothers. (Ben is no Groucho and Jonah is no Chico. And there’s not a Harpo or a Zeppo in sight, unless Williams or Wilson want the jobs.)

For my taste, there weren’t enough laughs in this “comedy.” And too many joke/relics. But it sure looks good. Especially when Adams is on screen.

Paper Heart (One Star)
U.S.; Nicholas Jasenovic, 2009 (Starz/Anchor Bay)

A weird, silly sort of real-life/fake/romance/production in which teen indie/smart-throb Michael Cera gives a showcase to his cartoonist/interviewer girlfriend Charlyne Yi. Together they costar in a bad, corny mockumentary about media-disrupted love and how love should prevail. Maybe, but the movie shouldn’t.

Flame and Citron (Three Stars)
Denmark/France/Germany; Ole Christian Madsen, 2008 (Ais)

Ole Christian Madsen wrote and directed this gripping, brainy Danish World War II neo-noir anti-Nazi resistance drama — based on fact, but fictionalized — about a crack assassin named Bent aka Flame (Thurl Lindhardt) and his ace driver Citron aka Jorgen (Mads Mikkelsen). Also in the mix are a waiting wife named Bodil (Mille Hofmeyer Lehfeldt) and sex bomb spy Ketty (Stine Stengade), and a horde of shady looking characters and arrogant Nazis, all crossing and double-crossing each other.

Flame and Citron is often as dark and cynical as one of Jean-Pierre Melville‘s (aka Grumbach’s) resistance movies. Jorgen Johansson‘s cinematography is ultra-bleak, as if the lens is about to frost. The ending, jaw-droppingly, moves into Where Eagles Dare or Peckinpah-cum-Tarantino balls-out massacre territory, which makes you wonder about the truth under the fiction, the citron under the flame. But it doesn’t matter. This movie should get under your skin anyway. (In Danish, with English subtitles.)

Brava Italia (Two and a Half Stars)
U.K.; Sam Toperoff, 2008 (Acorn)

Three beautifully shot, but not very interestingly written or directed travelogue/documentaries about Italy, its social rituals, culture and history. The photography and the locations make it worthwhile. Narrated by Paul Sorvino — and Francis Ford Coppola pops up early on.

Secondhand Lions (Three Stars)
U.S.; Tim McCanlies, 2003 (New Line)

Michael Caine and Robert Duvall spark up this somewhat corny tale as a pair of loveable old great-uncles, with adventurous pasts, and an awestruck young relative (Haley Joel Osment) — whose imagination they set ablaze. With Kyra Sedgwick and Josh Lucas.

The Green Mile (Blu-ray Book) (Two and a Half Stars)
U.S.; Frank Darabont, 1999 (Warner)

Frank Darabont’s followup to his much-loved Stephen King adaptation The Shawshank Redemption takes another King prison tale, this time about the terrors and redemptions of Death Row, and spins it out way too far. With Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bonnie Hunt and David Morse.

The Mask of Zorro (Two Stars)
U.S.; Martin Campbell, 1998

The Zorro legend drowned in glitz and super-production values, with an old Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) passing the torch and the sword to a new one (Antonio Banderas). The Disney TV show (see above) really isn’t much better, but it’s certainly more economical. And more fun. With Catherine Zeta-Jones and L. Q. Jones.

Gremlins 25th Anniversary edition. (Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars)
U.S.; Joe Dante, 1983 (Warner)

Still Joe Dante’s best movie: the spiffy, smart, scary, visually witty horror/fantasy/comedy about the evil little monsters who come to town as the spawn of some cute Christmas pets, but then over-run and attack a once-halcyon Speilberg-cum-Norman Rockwell paradise. Demons in Capra-land. They’re mean! With Phoebe Cates, Zach Galligan, Hoyt Axton and Dick Miller. Written by Chris Columbus, and it’s still pretty much his best movie too.

Extras: Commentaries; Additional scenes; Outtakes; Featurette; Trailer.

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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