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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB Thursday 42210 (draft day)

It’s always interesting how a mid-week festival start turns weekdays into a faux weekend.
And though I have not felt it was much worth comment, the idea of commoditizing movie grosses is the greatest scam in history. Will it affect the movie business? Not likely. But it is a con with only one sure winner… as always… The House. It’s called gambling. Only a con man or an idiot would suggest otherwise.

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33 Responses to “BYOB Thursday 42210 (draft day)”

  1. LexG says:

    Why do people insist on making movies that look like THIS?
    I know Jeunet, like Gilliam, like Burton, has his legion of admirers, but why does every thing where they proclaim “FROM THE IMAGINATION OF…” always have to look and sound EXACTLY LIKE THIS?
    All that distorted, freakshow imagery and forced, unfunny WHIMSY? All the bad-looking people in distorted lenses MUGGING? All the same tired “grotesque” imagery?
    Burton gets his fair share of complainers, but man, Jeunet like Gilliam really just needs to MIX IT UP. Obviously this is a selfish complaint born of my own preferences; You could say Michael Mann and Woody Allen and Ridley Scott need to MIX IT UP, so either one’s personal style does it for you, or it doesn’t.
    But why do people ever want to go to movies to see WHIMSY? Or to see aggressively BAD-LOOKING PEOPLE MAKING STUPID FACES? And always with that WAH-WAH-WAH fucking foghorn ZANY “oompah-loompah” music as heard in the above MICMACS trailer.
    Doesn’t anyone else just get EMBARRASSED looking at this stuff? Every SINGLE SHOT of that trailer is so PRECIOUS and WHIMSICAL and CARNY-ESQUE and FORCED and LOOK HOW IMAGINATIVE! And so fucking FRENCH.
    “From the IMAGINATION OF!” That should suggest some really crazy, unique, out there shit EVERY TIME AT THE PLATE. Jeunet’s been making the same DORKY movie for 20 years… Gilliam’s been doing it for 35. It’s not especially “IMAGINATIVE” when it all looks and sounds EXACTLY THE SAME.

  2. mutinyco says:

    If anybody’s interested in DSLR video, these are a couple of recent tests with the 7D.
    Roosevelt Island:
    LIC Sunset:

  3. I like Jeunet for the most part, but I f’ing HATED Micmacs. If it was a little dog, I would’ve kicked it when no one was looking.
    Partly I was in a bad mood and just not up for manic whimsy, but part of it too was that the movie was just an assault. It was like a persistent mime who thinks he’s being marvelous and clever and you’re just sitting there on the park bench trying to talk to this girl and the mime won’t quit until you’re forced to plunge a ballpoint pen into his jugular.
    Or have you ever had someone stick their finger in your ear to tickle and annoy you until you want to elbow them in the face? That’s what Micmacs is like for two straight unendurable hours.

  4. Also, David. Regarding the stupid movie futures thing. Why is the MPAA so bothered by it?

  5. LexG says:

    That mime comparison was awesome. Two minutes of trailer had that effect on me, so I can’t imagine two hours of it.
    And what’s with that godawful, ugly, hazy butterscotch SHEEN? Why do some directors like tinting their movies golden brown? It’s always a boring eye-sore.

  6. I like(d) Jeunet so I can imagine Micmacs would drive you completely crazy.
    I think I genuinely chuckled once and I don’t even remember what the bit was.
    I should’ve just walked out when the contortionist showed up. Seriously. She’d hunch down into small enclosed spaces with her legs up over her shoulders like some kinf of weird hairless spider. Why? Because it’s whimsical!
    I guess the butterscotch haze is meant to put you in an old-timey nostalgic frame of mind when circus freaks and mugging morons with bad teeth were super entertaining.

  7. a_loco says:

    Sorry to be reposting stuff from Wells’ blog, but this is so fantastic that anyone who doesn’t go there really really has to see this.
    Seriously, funniest YouTube video ever.

  8. leahnz says:

    yeah, fuck the french

  9. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Lex the word you’re looking for is “twee”.
    AMELIE is cine-AIDS
    Worst film ever created by a man with testicles (maybe)
    Jeunet’s films are for people who stare at babies and make goo-goo noises while wrinkling their noses.
    Die motherfuckers die.
    Not really a fan.

  10. scooterzz says:

    for the l.a. folk: just back from the premiere of ‘nightmare alley’ @ the geffen….really nice production, o.k. songs, great performances and direction by gil cates….it was a little jarring that so few people attending knew it had originally been a film….this production is well worth taking in…..
    on the flip: couldn’t escape fast enough from last night’s opening of ‘chicago’…..not bad….just really not good…..

  11. LexG says:

    Michelle Williams in Chicago though? That’s gotta be SOMEWHAT worth the price of admission, right?
    Great actress. And, you know, YEP YEP.

  12. LexG says:

    HEY who wants to vote on a GOOD IDEA????
    I have a GOOD IDEA:
    I should be teaching 12th GRADE ENGLISH or DRAMA.
    I’m going to apply for a teacher’s license so I can TEACH ENGLISH TO HIGH SCHOOL KIDS.
    THIS IS A GREAT IDEA, one I’ve had for YEARS. If I can’t show up my own high school enemies by becoming a MOVIE STAR, I can APPLY FOR A TEACHING LICENSE and be THE COOL TEACHER.
    THIS IS GOING TO RULE. Maybe they can assign me to some rich-kid Catholic school in Brentwood or the Valley. LEXG THE 12TH GRADE SUBSTITUTE.
    All these AWESOME students all asking me about my acting career and stand up and me being THE COOL TEACHER and finally BEING COOL in a HIGH SCHOOL SETTING.
    THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER, everyone who knows me thinks I’D ROCK as a teacher plus all the 18yo girls probably wear flip-flops YEP YEP.
    I get to relive high school as THE COOL GUY.

  13. jeffmcm says:

    Lex, I know a guy who had been teaching film classes at a private high school around Thousand Oaks/Woodland Hills, and he’s quitting so there’s a job opening…
    Countdown to arrest t-minus six months.

  14. torpid bunny says:

    “some rich-kid Catholic school in Brentwood or the Valley”
    I think there’s a plausibility issue here. You need to look more “Stand and Deliver” probably.

  15. torpid bunny says:

    “Stand and Deflower”

  16. chris says:

    It’s I-C-A-H-N, Variety. Icahn.

  17. hcat says:

    The Jeunet rant reminded me how I felt about the Science of Sleep. Loved Gondry’s previous film but he disappeared down his own rabbit hole on that one.
    On another topic, I got to shake Ebert’s hand this morning, quite a thrill.

  18. chris says:

    Variety may be reading your comments section, DP. At least, after I posted the above, the headline on the Icahn story was fixed. Now, if they could also fix the story itself…

  19. storymark says:

    Interesting analysis of Leno’s ratings (since his return) vs. Conan’s. Short story – Leno is pulling about the same numbers in his first 7 weeks back as Conan did in his first 7 weeks. But Conan did better in the 18-45 demo.

  20. LexG says:

    But Leno is slightly more relaxing and pleasant at midnight. I think it was the 1977-looking blue curtains that did Conan on TS.
    But I watched Jay last night, and he had Pierce Brosnan on… What is this new thing where he shows a MONTAGE of their career highlights before inviting them out? Is this a new feature or did he just do it for Brosnan? It was a nice montage, but it took like two full minutes and probably cost money to put together. What is the point?

  21. Random question and probably about a week to late buuuut…
    When I saw KICK-ASS there’s a scene at the breakfast table in the beginning. On the table is a carton of Clover-Stornetta milk and I only caught that because it’s a Petaluma brand of milk. It struck me as totally random and weird.
    I’m wondering if my local dairy has entered the Hollywood product placement world OR if there’s some kind of new, weird advertising where they place a more localized product in different areas. I tweeted about it last week and my L.A. buddy said it was Clover as well…just seems really weird.
    So, if you go see KICK-ASS, can you let me know what kind of milk they have at breakfast?

  22. Foamy Squirrel says:

    That sounds… unlikely. I can’t imagine independent filmmakers spending an entire day refilming the same scene swapping out the milk carton when they haven’t sold the film yet.
    I’d imagine it’s probably more likely their props person comes from near Petaluma.

  23. jeffmcm says:

    Good to see info to refute DP’s persistent pro-Leno bias.

  24. Foamy Squirrel says:

    It doesn’t really refute it – all things being equal, it was still cheaper for NBC to oust Conan rather than Leno due to the termination clauses in their contracts.
    The only real way that Conan could be vindicated is if Leno had significantly lower ratings, otherwise Zucker still made the right decision.

  25. aframe says:

    Lex–the Michelle Williams currently in CHICAGO at the Pantages isn’t the one I think you think it is; it’s the former Destiny’s Child member, not the star of Dawson’s, Brokeback, et al.

  26. LexG says:

    HA! Now how’s that for a bait and switch.
    Imagine some dumb-ass buying a ticket thinking he’s gonna get to the see the AWESOME Michelle Williams from Shutter Island/Brokeback, and instead it’s the DC chick whose claim to fame is NOT being Beyonce (or Kelly Rowland.) But, on reflection, no idea why I thought the sensitive, modest, big-screen successful MW would be BELTING IT OUT in an LA production of a musical.

  27. SJRubinstein says:

    “The Losers” is such a strange movie. For every great beat there’s a counter, not-so-great beat. Still, there’s just enough to push it into the “win” column for me. I think.
    And the more I think about Nic Cage’s performance in “Kick-Ass,” the more I think it’s one of my favorite he ever gave especially ***SPOILERS*** his death scene. The difference between him in and out of his Big Daddy costume is also pretty great.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Foamy, maybe ‘right’ if all one cares about is business. And yes, I know it’s Zucker’s job. The pooch was nonetheless well and firmly screwed.

  29. LexG says:


  30. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Although this will likely result in discussion necromancy, the (kind of) odd thing is that it’s really no-one’s “fault” – in the sense that no-one did anything that they shouldn’t have with the information at the time.
    – 5 years ago (or close enough) Conan was trying to consider what to do with his career. Executives knew that it was likely that Leno would be ready to step down in a few years, and they had faith that Conan could fill the slot. So they signed him for the position in advance – a sensible thing to do at the time.
    – After the pre-ordained takeover, someone pitches the idea that Leno could make a new show to replace expensive scripted shows. It’s projected it will pull in equivalent ratings at a lower cost – again, a sensible thing to do at the time.
    – Both Leno and Conan underperform. You can bring back the scripted shows relatively easily, but there’s only really space for one evening variety show. Leno costs more to fire than Conan, and has a better track record – so, again, the sensible thing to do is exactly what happened.
    It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that some of these decisions become patently “wrong”. I don’t begrudge Conan for playing the victim, because he did get the short straw and, yet again, it’s the sensible thing for him to do. But while Jeff Zucker should take “responsibility” (after all, the buck ultimately stops with him) he doesn’t really deserve “blame” any more than if he scheduled an expensive new prime time show and half the cast and crew came down with meningitis putting it on indefinite hiatus – there’s really only so much he has direct control over. You could argue that maybe he (or his analysts) could’ve done better risk/sensitivity analysis, but at the end of the day probably 95% of people in the same position would have made similar decisions.
    I also “think” that I “may” have overused “quotation marks” while “writing” that.

  31. Triple Option says:

    RE: Milk carton – They wouldn’t have to swap out the film carton, they could digitize a different brand. Some companies will pay to have their products inserted in post. Anheuser Busch will put Budweiser bottles and cases on the counter of party scenes even after the movie has shown in festivals. It’s relatively inexpensive to do that than gamble w/a film so far in advance. Plus, as companies mktg plans and funds change according to qtr, it’s easier to allocate towards something that could still fit a budget as opposed to outlaying costs that aren’t recognized until a later fiscal year.

  32. Foamy Squirrel says:

    True, but I’m not sure if Clover really has the scale to consider digitizing their brand into a wide-release genre film in post. In that case you’d probably either have to have a dozen or two smaller brands willing to cough up to localize for their area, or a national brand willing to not be displayed in certain areas.
    For me, those scenarios are still less likely than the props person coming from Petaluma. Your mileage may vary.

  33. If it was a blue (or “bluescreen”) milk carton when they shot it wouldn’t it be as simple as imposing a Clover photo of a carton onto the blue parts?? I know L.A. got the Clover carton too so maybe it was a local who did it. Still, struck me as odd.

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