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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB For A Vampire Humpday Into A Werewolf Thursday

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45 Responses to “BYOB For A Vampire Humpday Into A Werewolf Thursday”

  1. LexG says:

    I love Kristen Stewart.

  2. sloanish says:

    I loved Hurt Locker (and still do), but it definitely benefited being pre-Restrepo. Now I get why all the vets I talk to trash Locker.

  3. Deathtongue_Groupie says:

    (Spoilers herein)
    Can someone ask Gary Dretzka if he actually watched THE CRAZIES or simply wrote a “review” based on synopsis? Because that’s always my suspicion whenever a critic gets very basic facts from a film wrong, in this case: “When the body of a pilot is found hanging from a tree in a nearby swamp, it

  4. LexG says:

    I think the all-time prize for that kinda thing is Ebert’s review of “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” wherein he talks about how Michael Myers is absent from the movie… except for the opening scene where he blows up in a hospital parking lot.
    Myers isn’t in the movie AT ALL, it has nothing to do with I or II, and the parking lot explosion Ebert references is a robot guy in a business suit and no mask who bears no resemblance to the killer from the first two WHATSOEVER.
    Not to mention it happens ten or 15 minutes into the movie. And Ebert says they spend the rest of the movie sifting through Myers’s ashes. There’s ash-sifting, but it’s some chick going through ashes and very explicitly stating that it was a robot made of electronic parts.
    I know it’s a goofy genre movie, but Ebert was COMMANDER HALLOWEEN, so you’d think he’d have at least remembered a mere four years on something about the original movie, what Myers looked like, that he wasn’t a Kyle MacLachlan-looking motherfucker in a business suit made out of eletronic parts and serving as an assassin for a crazed Celtic toymaker.

  5. guselephant says:

    Question that’s been in my head all week that I hope some of you guys can help me out with, especially you DP:
    What is the model for movies like Please Give? A movie that’s made for about $3M… How are the expecting recoupment? What is the projected return for something like this?
    The way I see it, movies of this type are made for $3M, gross $3M, net $1.25M, and have spent half a million or more on P&A, leaving them after a distribution fee of a third at close to zero in theatrical money.
    Do films like this do enough business on video to justify their budgets?
    What about Noah Baumbach? Is it just that he’s been able to cast major stars and sell investors on their commercial successes rather than their indie flops? Hard to see how Greenberg will net even something close to Stiller’s salary, unless these things are doing $20M on video and I don’t know about it.
    Anyone help?

  6. says:

    Anyone else seen Inception? Is there any doubt Warners is making a big mistake by maintaining Dark Knight-level theatrical expectations? The movie plays, but no one under the age of 17 will be able to keep up with the plot, leaving a big chunk of the DK demographic in the cold. It will no doubt be a great title for the WB catalog, but I can’t imagine it passing $400M worldwide theatrical.

  7. JPK says:

    I was reading some more on the disaster that is Jonah Hex and it got me thinking about other huge summer disasters.
    Outside of the easily identifiable – Speed Racer, The Avengers, Ishtar – what are some of the others that really stick out in your mind? Are there any you loved even though the masses were indifferent?
    I’ll own up to secretly loving Ishtar (Dustin Hoffman cracks me up and their songs are so horribly funny).
    Anyway, would love to hear about your favorite summer failures…

  8. jesse says:

    Good question, JPK. I know this is one of the obvious ones, as you said, and there’s probably a decent-size cult that feels the same way, but I loved Speed Racer, certainly one of the most enjoyable and flat-out visually inventive mega-flops of recent years.
    I really enjoyed the Emma Roberts/Andrew Fleming version of Nancy Drew — a really charming and funny movie that pretty much belly-flopped at the box office. I’m sure someone might say it had “tone” problems but for me it struck just the right balance between sincerity and spoof (mostly sincerity, but still funny). The mystery itself at the core of the story could’ve been a bit better (at the time, we were coming off of weekly, superior mysteries on Veronica Mars, which is basically a noir Nancy Drew), but it’s a really fun movie and I imagine if I had a 9-12-year-old daughter I would’ve been even more grateful for it. Hot Rod, from the same summer (2007), delighted me even more. I guess those movies are pretty small-scale, though, and probably didn’t lose a ton of money in the end, like MacGruber (my favorite flop of 2010, by far).
    I had some affection for Year One, last summer, even though it was pretty ramshackle. I still laughed more than I did at The Hangover.
    Summer of ’99 had some terrific flops, just as it had terrific everything else: Mystery Men, Dick, and The Iron Giant all came out around the same time, and they’re all quite good; Mystery Men, in fact, is a personal favorite of mine.

  9. jesse says:

    Another side topic, and apologies if this is being covered in a thread I haven’t seen yet: you know who apparently sucks at comebacks? M. Night Shyamalan. I’ll go to bat not just for Sixth Sense, but Unbreakable and Signs, both of which I like just as much as Sixth Sense if not more.
    The Village has a pretty excellent first half, and then kind of whiffs with a poorly developed series of twists, fake twists, and non-reverse twists. But, OK, there’s still some amazing filmmaking, it just needed another rewrite or two to iron stuff out. No big deal.
    And then Lady in the Water, well, it’s not one of those flops that I’d defend, but I saw some good in it. I understand how he could miscalculate that way. So I settled in for what looked like a simple return to form with The Happening: OK, he’ll do a straightforward scary movie to re-establish cred, and then on to the next thing.
    And it didn’t really work (and, again, that’s still a movie I see more good in than most people apparently do). So, OK, he’s in movie jail and needs a kiddie franchise to break out. He’ll do this Nickelodeon movie, do some journeyman work on a fantasy movie, and then that’ll put him back in good graces.
    And I haven’t seen Airbender, but yikes, it’s getting *worse* reviews than his personal missteps! Six percent on the Tomatometer, and not just mixed-to-indifferent semi-negatives, either: real pans. I wasn’t that excited to see it, but nor did I really expect it to get savaged.
    I guess money-wise, he’s really not in terrible shape. Airbender will probably make Village/Happening style recouping money (that is, not bad for something critically reviled and/or with terrible word of mouth). Besides that Wide Awake movie, Lady in the Water is really his only out-and-out bomb. Apparently his name gets people into seats; The Happening opened.
    But sweet jesus, what is going on with him? How did he become a director who steps up to these obvious chances to clean up his name, and just whiff? He’s reaching a tipping point where he’s going to have more movies that don’t work to his name than those that do (assuming Airbender does suck, you could even count it at even right now: three and a half versus three and a half).
    It’s not quite Rob Reiner level burn-out because M. Night’s filmmaking can still be interesting (and the journey from Signs to The Village to Lady in the Water is more of a slide than a solid drop). I like that he works quickly, doing a movie every two years or so, and seems to really commit to his work. But it seems like he’s just sinking into the morass at this point.
    That Bruce Willis/Gwyneth Paltrow project sounds interesting, but you know, so did most of his other sucky movies at the outset.

  10. I LOVE love love LADY IN THE WATER. It has some lame moments, but it feels like such a stab at the late 80’s/early 90’s darker fairy tale movies I loved. I don’t know why people turned on it so harshly, it deserves another look. I also dug THE VILLAGE and SIGNS but THE HAPPENING….wow. One of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.
    Maybe M. Night just peaked too early or became so in love with himself, he refuses to listen to others? I think we all think he’d be better served with an editor or mentor to rein him in and be honest with him. Who knows, it’s a shame though because THE 6TH SENSE and UNBREAKABLE are fantastic. Maybe he needs to reteam with Willis?

  11. yancyskancy says:

    jesse: I’m with you on NANCY DREW, an appealingly sincere movie with simple, old-fashioned storytelling that came as a relief after the busy, often nonsensical plotting of the SPIDER-MAN and PIRATES three-quels. It was probably a commercial misstep to make Nancy a retro little miss perfect–her trend-conscious classmates in the film eventually find her to be so unhip she’s cool, but I doubt that real-life kids did. I also think maybe they should’ve kept her on her “everytown” turf rather than transplanting her to big, bad Hollywood–but hey, I could pick the thing apart from here till Tuesday. Basically, it worked.
    LADY IN THE WATER may be my favorite Night flick at this point. It’s just so wacky, intentionally so, but Night is a nutjob with conviction. He can be an idiosyncratic, entertaining bullshit artist, but it was harder to feel this way about THE HAPPENING–the wacky highs were even wackier, but oh, the lows.

  12. a_loco says:

    Question: Up here in the Great White North, and especially Toronto, we’ve been inundated with news coverage about the G20 riots and the resulting police response and the fact that these are probably the worst riots Canada has ever seen.
    But does anyone outside of Canada care?

  13. Boonwell says:

    JPK: Don’t know anymore what the bottom line was, but I think WATERWORLD is still considered a flop, isn’t it? I love it. Especially the extended version that ABC sometimes airs on Saturday nights but I don’t think is available on video. It’s not perfect (Broadway’s Michael Jeter playing to the cheap seats, the bungee jump rescue, cigarettes still worth lighting up, etc), but it always engages my imagination with the post-apocalyptic world it creates. And I love Kevin’s boat. And yelling “smokers” when I see jet skis on the lake. And Jeanne Tripplehorn — still hot on BIG LOVE. And calling any pattern of mosquito bites on my wife’s back a “map to dry land.”

  14. christian says:

    “But does anyone outside of Canada care?”
    America’s too busy with the new iphone, dude.

  15. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t see that G20 news even on the BBC News page.

  16. Hopscotch says:

    JPK – Great question…
    The Terminal was a) not a flop or b) horribly reviewed. However, most everyone I know who saw it didn’t enjoy it. I love the first half. I think some of it is incredibly funny and charming. The last “romantic” 30 minutes or so are bad, but I very much enjoy that first hour.

  17. Joe Leydon says:

    Funnily enough, when I was at Best Buy a couple weeks back, I saw a 2-Disc “Extended Edition” Blu-Ray of Waterworld for sale. Could this be the version you’re thinking of?

  18. Boonwell says:

    Could be, Joe. I’ve never really looked. Just sort of assumed it wasn’t available because it only showed up on network TV that way, never on HBO. A silly reason, to be sure, but, since jumping to conclusions is an activity I’m good at, not surprising.

  19. IOv2 says:

    Jeff, you are not very good with this internet thing. All you do is type g20 riots into the google and you get this… .
    Loco, when the G20 showed up in Seattle a few years back. The news in the US barely gave the protesting and riots that occurred any ink. So it would seem to be a whole “US MEDIA STILL SUCKING EGGS” bit of situation.

  20. chris says:

    @Don: Supposedly, Willis, Gwyneth Paltrow and Bradley Cooper are attached to the next Shyamalan. (And, FWIW, I’d say “Unbreakable” is one of the most skillfully-made films of the last 15 years.)

  21. Joe Leydon says:

    Boon: It’s funny how broadcast TV editions of movies can be “extended.” Back in the ’60s and 1970s, it wasn’t uncommon for Universal to actually shoot additional footage for movies that had been cut because of sex, language or violence, or simply weren’t all that long to begin with, so they’d still be long enough for a 2-hour time slot. Seriously. I remember watching the Herbert Lom version of The Phantom of the Opera one night on NBC, and being very surprised to see a brand new subplot involving police detectives on the trail of The Phantom. (They did something similar with Night of the Following Day and Secret Ceremony.) And I was downright shocked when I watched The Hired Hand — one of my favorite movies of the ’70s, which I saw about 6 or 7 times in theaters — and confronted several scenes with Peter Fonda and Warren Oates I’d never seen before, including a few featuring Larry Hagman (who never appears in the theatrical version) as the local sheriff. It wasn’t until a few years later, when I interviewed Peter Fonda, that I learned these “new” scenes had been cut by the studio before the movie had its brief theatrical run. For many years — well into the ’80s, I think — this “extended” version popped up on broadcast and basic cable stations.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    IO, go back to what I said. I clearly wrote “I don’t see that G20 news on the BBC News page.” I didn’t say it was a nonexistent news story, just that it wasn’t being picked up by a major, pretty-free-from-bias news source.
    I don’t mind you being stupid, I just wish you weren’t so aggressively stupid.

  23. IOv2 says:

    Jeff, this is why you are about as daft as a person can get. You went to the BBC instead of going to the CBC and then have the audacity to refer to me as stupid? You really take the cake in lameness, douchebagginess, and all around general rudeness. Congratulations on the hat trick of suckiness for a human being.
    Again, you think I am stupid when really, you are not only one of the absolutely worst posters in the history of boards/blogs/usenets on the entire internet, but also someone with an incredibly inflated ego who believes he’s a smarter than ever because he’s such a clever boy. When in actuality, you are an angry middle-aged man lashing out at the world. The world being me in this case but you should get the point. OH I forgot. You are so incredibly inept at reading comprehension that you will probably read these three times and think I am praising you in some way. Geez man. Geez.

  24. Boonwell says:

    Interesting, Joe. Thanks for the history/cinema lesson.
    I know it’s not the same thing, but I used to get soooooo peeved when Gilliam’s BRAZIL would show up on cable and I’d never know if it was his good/real version or the studio’s happy ending/crappy version. I knew the studio cut existed but it never occurred to me that it might show up on TV when I had seen the most excellent version in theaters. And I was so shocked/annoyed/pissed when I found I’d been watching the wrong one. I found myself getting overly anxious whenever I thought about trying it again on television.
    It’s like a skip on an old vinyl LP — I’d push the needle down to get through it, but never knew if the skip would return next time. The anxiety would quicken my pulse and make me nuts. It still does with certain songs when heard on the radio.

  25. Boonwell says:

    Oh, and JPK: I read recently that HEAVEN”S GATE is being re-evaluated and the consensus is that it’s more of a masterpiece than previously believed. I saw it in college a few years after its release and thought it was murky and bloated and generally horrible, completely deserving of its place in bad cinema history. Your thoughts? Joe?

  26. Joe Leydon says:

    Guselephant: Presumably, the overseas gross is what pushes these films (or, to be more precise, what the filmmakers hope will push these films) into profitability. I would assume that homevideo also figures into the mix, which is why many (most?) indie filmmakers try to get at least one or two (or more) reasonably well-known folks into the cast — and onto the DVD packaging — for every movie. By sheer coincidence, I was thinking about this very thing the other day, when I returned my copy of Unthinkable to a Redbox kiosk. Here’s a movie with Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen and Carie-Anne Moss that went direct to video. (In the US, at least.) But it appeared to have been made on a small budget, and I’d be willing to bet Jackson worked for below his usual fee to play an interesting part. And just think: If Redbox bought enough copies to stock every Redbox kiosk in the entire country…

  27. a_loco says:

    Oh well, I guess the riots weren’t that bad when compared to other international events, it’s just bad for Canada.
    (Also, IO, I assume Jeff went to the BBC because I asked if anyone cared outside of Canada, and the BBC is the premier international source of news.)

  28. Joe Leydon says:

    Boon: Would you believe I’ve never seen Heaven’s Gate? I promised myself a long time ago that I wanted to see the original cut on a big screen before I saw it on cable or homevideo. But I’ve never had the opportunity. I may have to break down if it’s ever released on Blu Ray. And you’re right: there does seem to be some critical re-evaluation. If you’re interested, you might want to watch the documentary Final Cut, about the production of Heaven’s Gate. It’s not available on homevid, alas, but you can watch it on YouTube.

  29. Blackcloud says:

    Perhaps the aspect of the G20 which received the most attention in the US was that the Phillies got three extra home games out of it. The series with Toronto was moved to Philadelphia because of the security mess. I got to go to the game last Friday, my first at the Bank. Normally Phillies tickets are hard to come by, but this switch meant three extra opportunities. It was funny seeing the Philies play at home in their road uniforms and using the DH.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    IO: You don’t get it. You NEVER get it. You are un-get-it-able.

  31. christian says:

    Boonwell, saw the “director’s cut” of HEAVEN’S GATE a few years back at LACMA with Vilmos Zsigmond. It’s a gorgeous film, striving for something, and Walken is fantastic. It’s all over the map, but I always give points for ambitions. It’s a very 70’s film at the start of the 80’s. See it onscreen if possible.

  32. hcat says:

    Gus – Please give will get around 10-13% of whatever it makes in theaters when it plays on Starz, double that is someone like Lifetime picks it up as well, and with Joe’s example of all the redbox and brick and mortar stores picking up at least one copy, thats another couple hundred thousand.

  33. hcat says:

    While Waterworld is remembered as a flop, it actually did well that summer. It certainly wasn’t the disaster that Costner had with Wyatt Earp the summer earlier. And while the Rocketeer might be more of a soft disappointment than a flop it remains my favorite live action disney film.

  34. hcat says:

    and another point on Please Give, while 3 million was the budget, it is unlikely that SPC footed the whole 3. So the producers pick up 1.5 from SPC, and then say 400k from a french, english, German and Denby in Australia they’re into profit with a lot more territories to go.

  35. bulldog68 says:

    Completely off topic but its BYOB, and if the stories about Mel Gibson are perceived to be true, then whatever hopes he had of salvaging his career are gone. I like the guy, and wanted him to come back in a big way, but it seems he’s digging a deeper hole for himself.
    In terms of comparisons, I think he’s the closest thing to both John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, a true tough guy with a talent behind the camera, and like Clint Eastwood, his longevity was assured in show business way beyond his shoot em up years. He was handling growing older better than most 45+ actors and lethal Weapon 4 handled his aging action hero status with the right doses of comedy. And then the racial stuff, and then the lull, and then an attempt at a comeback with Edge of Darkness, which while not a success, was not a total embarrassment, and now this news, and true or untrue, judgments will be made and perceptions will be the ever present reality. Say it ain’t so Mel.

  36. IOv2 says:

    Loco, yeah but you were bringing it up and I went with the “he didn’t know about it and why not go to the source to find out about it” line of thought. It’s best to go to the source but you know this is Jeff.
    Jeff, you could not even comprehend how much I get it. Seriously. I even get that you remain a very sad man who goes through life alone, and that’s very sad Jeff. That’s very sad indeed.

  37. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah yeah, I couldn’t hear you over the huge bowl of ice cream I’m eating.

  38. IOv2 says:

    Jeff, it’s sad because it’s true. Not as sad as you started to dislike me because I used the word “Dap.”

  39. IOv2 says:

    Wow. A Brit Spider-Man. I really hope Sony loses those right to Spidey one day because obviously they have lost their minds by picking that goofy looking Jonas brother clone.

  40. chris says:

    Actually, Joe, he’d be better of reading “Final Cut,” the witty, argumentative book of which the doc is a precis.

  41. Joe Leydon says:

    Chris: Cannot disagree. I have an autographed copy of the book on my bookshelf. And who knows? If Norman Jewison had indeed taken over the film during production…

  42. I’ve hung out with jeff….he’s much funnier and easy-going than he comes off here.
    And…just wanted to pass word that FILM THREAT is having a 25 Year Anniversary panel at this years Comic-Con with special guest Kevin Smith! I think he’s an ad hoc host for the thing.
    I’m pretty proud of us for making it this far and love the fact Kevin will be on-board to further spite self-absorbed blogger types who are angry at him because even though they look like, talk like and dress like him….will never make a movie. Ever.

  43. Chucky in Jersey says:

    @blackcloud: Toronto turned totalitarian for the G20. The provincial government acted like Oliver North with FEMA — concoct police-state measures in secret, dress the po-po in Blackwater garb, put them above the law, have the premier stonewall the press. Not surprisingly that gave the armed claque a license to injure that would have made Daryl Gates proud.
    There are calls for the premier and now the police chief to stand down. Expect Canada’s equivalent of the liberal media to defend them.

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