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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB. It’s 11/30… Do You Know Where Your Thoughts Are?

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39 Responses to “BYOB. It’s 11/30… Do You Know Where Your Thoughts Are?”

  1. hcat says:

    Being giddy about True Grit I am curious about any possible westerns ready to be greenlit if it takes off. Anyone know what the status of Ridley and Blood Meridian? Scorsese and the Rough Riders movie? I know Leo’s attached, but hopefully there’s a bit of a schedule problem because Crowe was born to play Teddy.

    And looking for previous westerns to rent in anticipation of True Grit, I was dismayed that I can’t find the Hi-Lo Country anywhere. I remember liking that quite a bit (despite the glaring bit of miscasting- nobody in any situation would dismiss Penelope Cruz to moon over Patricia Arquette), and it having a great role for Woody Harrelson. Shame that something so recent seems to be relegated to the trash heap like some 1970s AIP drivein fare.

  2. Loved UNFORGIVEN, but man I wish Clint would do one more western. Don’t know what else he might have to say on the subject/genre — just sayin…

  3. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Haven’t read anything about Blood Meridian in a while now, or the Rough Riders movie for that matter. Ridley and Scorsese seem to have at least a half dozen projects in various stages at all times. I too wish one or both would make a western. We’re lucky to get one western a year in theaters these days. Next up, Cowboys and Aliens, which apparently is not a comedy but a serious western.

    My thoughts are on Ernest Dickerson. He directed great episodes of Dexter and The Walking Dead that aired a week apart. As awesome as Demon Knight is, the guy is a pretty damn good TV director.

  4. hcat says:

    Cowboys and Aliens is straight forward? I got a strong Men in Black vibe from it. Not bad if done well but the trailer didn’t do much for me. Glad its being made since we only get one western a year they insist on being deadly serious and I would love some more Silverado style fare. I trust Farv and glad he’s doing an oater that fits his style, every director needs a western under their belt.

    Clint can leave Unforgiven as his swan song for the western, I would like to see another Costner though, he should camp outside of John Hillcoat’s house until he agrees to work with him.

    I missed Walking Dead this week, will catch it on one of its many repeats. The series has been strong so far but I don’t know if it really brings anything new to the genre. I’ve never left a zombie movie and thought “wouldn’t it be great if that was four hours longer.” Glad for AMC’s success but hopefully this doesn’t change the direction of their development slate from Mad Men and Breaking Bad to more sensationalistic fare.

  5. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Regarding Cowboys and Aliens and tone.

    I am a huge, enormous fan of The Proposition and The Assassination of Jesse James. Sadly not too many people saw them. I thought 3:10 to Yuma 2.0 would do better as well. It will be interesting to see what kind of business True Grit 2010 does.

    Apparently The Walking Dead has had an increase in ratings over the course of its short season, with more than 5 million people watching the last one. I believe that’s significantly better than the Mad Men and Breaking Bad ratings, isn’t it? The show itself is pretty good. Doesn’t really bring a whole lot that’s new to the genre, but it’s incredible well-made and better than 99% of what’s on TV now.

  6. Krillian says:

    I’m a big fan of Open Range. Seems like it was the first good western in several years after crap like Texas Rangers and American Outlaws.

    I would be a bigger fan of 3:10 to Yuma if not for Ben Foster and the ending. I would be a bigger fan of Appaloosa if not for Renee Zellweger.

    Yes, if I remember right, Mad Men’s lucky to get 2 million viewers, and Breaking Bad not much more. Rubicon was more like 700,000 so it was cancelled.

  7. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Zellweger completely ruins Appaloosa for me, and it really loses steam in the last half. Harris and Viggo are excellent and a great pairing, and the first half is superb, but for me it doesn’t work as a whole. Open Range is indeed a great western. I like Foster in 3:10 to Yuma, but I didn’t like the ending either.

  8. Keil Shults says:

    Zellweger would ruin just about any movie for anyone.

    But moving on…

    Cowboys & Aliens looks fun as hell, and I hope (and think it will deliver.

    Am I hearing that RIDLEY SCOTT is directing Blood Meridian?! Say it isn’t so. I thought Todd Field was handling that project. Woe is me if this is true.

    I’ve never really been a fan of the western genre, but in recent years I’ve found that I can really like them if they’re well-written and well-made. Unforgiven, The Proposition, 3:10 to Yuma, Assassination of Jesse James, etc. Those were all great, and I’m dying to see True Grit. Hope it can come close to living up to these outrageous expectations that have been foisted upon it.

  9. hcat says:

    Walking Dead has been above the five million mark each episode, Mad Men would get about 2.8 Rubicon about .7 so its not a big suprise that its not coming back (thats about what Terriers on fx is doing as well so if you dig that show get your enjoyment in while you can). So you figure that Mad Men and Breaking Bad work as loss leaders, winning emmys, making sure providers carry your channel and letting people remember you are out there, and then you get a show that can actually deliver some strong numbers (for cable). I’m just wondering where AMC sees their brand right now. Do they go after more populor shows like Walking Dead or continue attempts at ecclectic brilliance. There is certainly room for both but I just hope they don’t tip the scales chasing the bucks.

    And anyone wanting to check out a decent western could do worse than Good, Bad, and the Weird. Had a great time watching it last week. It has a wonderful swashbuckling feel to it that actually reminded me of what Lucas could do in his prime. I forget the director’s name but he had I Saw the Devil at Toronto that seemed to get a few people buzzing around here after screening it.

  10. Rszanto says:

    Anyone know the status of Tarantino’s American Civil War western? Last I heard, it sounded eerily similar to one of Sergio Leone’s unrealized project, “A Place Only Mary Knows.” Apparently, a draft was published by Leone’s son sometime in 2004, but I’ve never been able to track down a copy.

  11. Hopscotch says:

    Open Range and Appaloosa are well-made films. Not great, but solidly done.

    I’m not going to make any friends saying this: Steve Buscemi is miscast in Boardwalk Empire. I love every single character arc in that show, except the lead’s. That’s a problem. I’m predicting this will go the Rome route. Too big of a show that lasts two seasons. I never really got into Rome.

  12. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    People seem to be either really hot or cold on Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire. He’s grown on me. I like him and can’t imagine someone else in the role. I think Pitt is even better though, and I’m not a huge fan of his. I think the Van Alden arc is a much bigger problem than Nucky’s.

  13. Krillian says:

    I’m one of those who’s bummed we didn’t get a third season of Carnivale, a fourth season of Deadwood, and that a third-season’s worth of stories were crammed into the second half of the second season of Rome. But I currently don’t get HBO so won’t see Boardwalk Empire until it comes out on DVD.

  14. Keil Shults says:

    Walking Dead has been good and very well-made, but I think it will really kick in next season, especially when the number of episodes per season more than doubles.

  15. cadavra says:


    The dearth of westerns is a direct result of the studios bring run by kids who didn’t grow up with them, don’t understand their appeal and don’t particularly care about the grosses in theatres between Pasadena and Greenwich Village. That OPEN RANGE did $65 million after opening in the late-August death slot should have sent a big signal that there’s still an appetite for a well-made oater out there as long as it doesn’t star any of Martin Sheen’s kids.

  16. Shillfor Alanhorn says:

    Paul MD: Check out Dickerson’s NEVER DIE ALONE, which is one of the most uncompromising, underrated movies of the last decade and was inexplicably buried by Fox Searchlight.

  17. christian says:

    BOARDWALK EMPIRE is a snooze. Anachronistic dialogue, more fetishsizing thugs, serial plots and insert HBO sex scene. Voila – cliche.

  18. sanj says:

    Mila Kunis did a podcast on Scott Feinberg website and 90% of it was the same as the DP/30 Mila Kunis
    I figure every interview Mila does will be the same..

  19. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Shillfor, thanks for the suggestion. I remember when that was released but never did get around to seeing it. I will try and check it out. I think Dickerson is doing really great work on TV right now.

    Christian, I agree with you to a certain degree, but I still think it’s a good show. You always seem cranky here. What do you like on TV? Anything? Or is it all mindless crap aimed at unthinking drones?

  20. LexG says:


    ZING. But honestly, that came on with this FLURRY of OH MY GOD it’s SCORSESE and WINTER and BUSCEMI, it’s the next Sopranos-Wire-Deadwood-etc… And two months on, I never hear ANYBODY talking about, no one tweets on it, so buzz whatsoever. Almost makes TREME seem like a watercooler special.

    Christian doesn’t like anything made since 1970.

    Also: I am horny. Anyone know a prostitute I can bang? E-me.

  21. yancyskancy says:

    Keil wrote: “I’ve never really been a fan of the western genre, but in recent years I’ve found that I can really like them if they’re well-written and well-made.”

    You mean there was a period when you didn’t like them no matter how well-written and well-made they were? Or did you have the sheer bad luck of seeing only crappy Westerns until recent years? At any rate, I think the genre, including its themes, tropes and formulas, is amazingly resilient. Even routine Westerns can be entertaining time-wasters, and in the hands of a Ford, Hawks, Mann, Boetticher, Daves, De Toth, Peckinpah, Leone, Eastwood, etc., can rank among the best of the medium. People who dismiss the genre out of hand are throwing a lot of beautiful babies out with the bathwater. Of course I suspect that young cinephiles base their opinion of the genre on the smattering of Westerns made in the last 20 years, with a token look at at a John Wayne film or two on Father’s Day. Cinema history is so rich, and so much of it is readily available these days. If today’s Westerns aren’t cutting it, dip a toe in the 1950s — they churned ’em out like sausages back then, but a surprisingly high percentage were good.

    BOARDWALK EMPIRE has probably taken longer to grow on me than any series. I had just about given up, but the last four episodes or so have been a big improvement (I think the turning point was the episode with the midgets — I’d like an entire series about those guys!). As for Buscemi, yeah, it’s like “Don Knotts IS the Godfather!” — but I’m getting used to him.

    I was underwhelmed by THE WALKING DEAD premiere. Well made, but overly familiar. But it’s proving to be not bad (I’m a couple episodes behind at this point).

  22. LexG says:

    WESTERNS RULE but the big drawback for me: LAME VAG. Even like THE FOX in JONAH HEX, which is as good as you’re even gonna get hotness-wise in a Western… They’re dressed like Kimberly Williams in that bonnet movie where plays Amish. Who wants to see that?

    MY BEST IDEA EVER is someone should do a Western where the chicks wear bikinis and heels and LITTLE OUTFITS, and there’s SYNTH AND HEAVY METAL on the soundtrack and it’s shot through BLUE FILTERS. Why do Westerns always have to be BROWN AND DIRTY? Someone should do a Western that’s lit, shot and scored EXACTLY like a 1983 Adrian Lyne movie, and all the chicks look like they’re in a 2010 Victoria’s Secret commercial.

    VAG is the most important of any movie. It’s why we see movies– to get an erection. A whole genre where by definition THE WOMEN CAN’T EVEN BE HOT is a bad idea.


  23. leahnz says:

    “Why do Westerns always have to be BROWN AND DIRTY?”

    because they take place in the dirt of the old west before paving and modern plumbing, bright spark

  24. LexG says:

    Thanks for the info!

    No reason they couldn’t get someone to SCHUMACHER IT UP and shoot it through PINK FILTERS or COOL BLUES and HOT PURPLES. Brown is the most boring color on planet earth.

    Even a GOD like FINCHER, I wish he’d stop making BROWN MOVIES. His music videos weren’t BROWN.

  25. David Poland says:

    Lex… “Vag”is caps is usually a landmark suggesting you should be standing down for a while…

  26. LexG says:

    But I attributed it to Zardoz. Should get in on a technicality.

    Fine. Cut off at the knees. Best behavior and all that. Can’t go nuts here anymore, can’t unleash on You-Know-Who’s blog without him sending him three email screeds.

    I need a venue.

  27. IOv3 says:

    The reason why Carnivale and Rome were cancelled stems from the guy running HBO at the time. That dude did not like spending money. The new guy in charge of HBO believes that they HAVE TO spend money to live up to the standard of HBO programming, so Broadwalk Empire could stay on the air a lot longer than Deadwood, Carnivale, and Rome. Especially if it sells BDs/DVD sets, which it most likely will.

    Outside of that, Broadwalk Empire is a fun show to watch. If you enjoy good acting and writing, then you should be watching this show. Hell, watch it for Michael Pitt’s tour de force performance, Jack Huston’s character work, and Gretchen Mol being Gretchen Mol. Oh yeah, KELLY MACDONALD POWER!

    Finally, with the Walking Dead, it needs to go somewhere. They really have spent five episodes getting to a HATCH, or a place that’s a straight rip of LOST, and I hope that takes this show in an entirely DIFFERENT DIRECTION from the comic. Seriously, that comic has repeated the same story almost every fucking time they switch arcs, and that’s just monotonous. Hell, Kirkman really believes that KILLING CHARACTERS counts as story development, when it’s just killing characters for no damn reason. I really do hope the season one finale takes The Walking Dead series in such a different direction from the comic, because it just needs to do so for no other reason than good storytelling.

  28. hcat says:

    I have to vehemently disagree with whomever recommended NEVER DIE ALONE earlier. Worst Searchlight movie ever released (and I have seen Phat Girlz and Gentlemen Broncos). All the dialogue sounds like shit some fourteen year old suburban kid thinks drug dealers talk like. Dickerson has talent and unfortunatly has only had his pick of really crap features (Bones), but Never Die Alone was a complete failure on the part of everyone involved, one of the most empty, ugly movies I have ever seen.

  29. LexG says:


    So nihilistic and cruel and obnoxious and AWESOME, especially that mean-spirited subplot about DMX gleefully getting Jennifer Sky’s white-girl actress character hooked on junk and fucking up her life. Also Michael Ealy is a great actor, one of those dudes like Anthony Mackie who kills it IN EVERYTHING but, let’s face it, white critics often don’t pay attention to black actors who make certain types of movies.

    But what the fuck was DAVID ARQUETTE doing in that?


  30. christian says:

    Paul Md, if you want to pick and choose my “cranky” moments – go fer it, I can take it. You didn’t chime in when I praised SCOTT PILGRIM, AVATAR, TRUE GRIT or Warren Oates, etc. etc. etc. And I guess it’s easier to be taken for a lover if one types in ALL CAPS all the things one hates. Generally, I don’t like much on the tube — cept CURB — but I find that people are really sensitive about the hours spent watching TV so they get doubly angry when not everybody bows to their loves.

  31. LexG says:

    “And I guess it’s easier to be taken for a lover if one types in ALL CAPS all the things one hates.”

    Say what? I don’t hate anything. I am as agreeable as a July breeze of deepest summer. I like pretty much every movie I ever see.

  32. IOv3 says:

    it’s not bowing to their loves as much as it’s being FAIR. Using ANACHRONISTIC DIALOGUE as a complaint about Broadwalk Empire is simply not fair. It’s not but if you think it is, so be it.

  33. sanj says:

    The Tourist – Angelina Jolie seems miscast just based on
    the trailer

  34. leahnz says:

    “The only credit we can take from that is we didn’t change it from the novel,” Ethan Coen says of the 1968 novel by Charles Portis. “The dialogue is taken pretty much entirely from the book. There’s a formality to it. And no one uses contractions.”

    yep, straight from the horse’s mouth: no contractions (but even in the trailer cogburn appears to indulge in a couple — now i’m doomed to listen for contractions for the entire movie, damn)

    also, seemingly confirmation in that same article on MCN from the bros of a rather dark but comedic family-style coen’s flick, bonza. i can’t wait, giddy as a fast-clapping jump-around schoolgirl.

  35. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    I also think anachronistic dialogue is a pretty weak complaint about Boardwalk Empire. As others have said, Pitt is really spectacular and the rest of the cast is pretty great as well. I’ve certainly never been remotely bored watching it, and I find Atlantic City (and Chicago and NYC) around 1920 to be a fascinating period of time. Plus there’s very little on TV these days worth making time for.

  36. storymark says:

    “but I find that people are really sensitive about the hours spent watching TV so they get doubly angry when not everybody bows to their loves.”

    Way to be douchey.

  37. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Indeed storymark. And I’m hardly angry. Far from it. I don’t expect everyone to love Boardwalk Empire nor do I care if they do. It’s not perfect, but complaints about anachronistic dialogue and sex scenes are really, really petty and silly.

  38. Nick Rogers says:

    I will second hcat’s enthusiasm for “The Good, the Bad, the Weird.” Easily the most giddily exciting action film of 2010 and nearly flawless integration of CG and practical.

  39. cadavra says:

    Lex, you’d be surprised how many westerns aren’t brown annd dirty. Back in the old days of Real Technicolor, they were total eye-candy: the colors in DODGE CITY, NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE, THE DESPERADOES, DUEL IN THE SUN, THE NAKED SPUR, JOHNNY GUITAR, THE SEARCHERS, GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL, RIO BRAVO, HOW THE WEST WAS WON and so many others practically reach out of the screen and bitch-slap you. Try watching a few. (And BTW, when it comes to “vag,” there are plenty of super-hot babes in these films as well: Angie Dickinson, Janet Leigh, Rhonda Fleming, Paulette Goddard, et al.)

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