MCN Blogs
Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest


I’m a little late on giving thanks, but I do have quite a few things to be thankful for this year.  First and foremost is you, my loyal readers, who make it worthwhile for me to spend time in front of my laptop for hours at a time.  I know a lot of you by name from our e-mails back and forth, others I just know are there, and most I hope to hear from in the future.  With the new format here, I’m excited to be able to communicate with you in the comments.  Anyway, thank you for thinking that my silly scribbling is worth your time.

I’m thankful for David Poland for continuing to give me more space in his center of the internet universe and for Kim Voynar for painstakingly editing all of my columns and making me look good every week.  And of course, the rest of the MCN staff (Pride, Dretzka, Pratt, Wilmington, Klady) who I’m honored to see my name next to on bylines.

I’m thankful for all of the great movies I see every year and for those that I’ve yet to see.  This year I’m especially thankful for David Fincher’s The Social Network, which continues to impress me every time I think of its various accomplishments.  Fincher has firmly established himself as one of the top three or four directors in the field, someone whom I will gladly line up for, despite the projects he chooses.  I have no doubt that his remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be vastly superior to the mediocre and overpraised Swedish version.

I’m thankful for the great performances this year by Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Rachel Weisz (Agora), George Clooney (The American), Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right), Robert Duvall (Get Low), Tilda Swinton (I Am Love).  These actors are almost always worth watching and this year, they were especially convincing in their roles.

I’m thankful that Steven Spielberg finally got the cojones required for him to make his long-gestating Lincoln biopic.  But I’m even more thankful that Daniel Day Lewis has replaced Liam Neeson in the title role.  I’ve gone on record more than a few times that I think DDL is the greatest living actor (and it’s not even close).  He works so rarely, so the fact that he’s taken time out to make this film leads me to believe that this will be one of Spielberg’s “good” projects.  I’m certainly more excited to see this than Robopocalypse and Tintin.

I’m thankful that I’m still surprised by the movie industry sometimes, like when I heard that Francis Ford Coppola was secretly filming a horror movie called Twist Now and Sunrise with Val Kilmer (my favorite actor for much of my young adult years), who badly needs a reclamation project.  After Coppola’s last film, Tetro, which I thought was a masterpiece, I have high hopes for this one.  It’ll also be nice to see the best young actor you’ve never heard of on screen again (Alden Ehrenreich).

I’m thankful that I still have so many gaps in my movie-watching history, allowing me to see films like Rocco and His Brothers for the first time.  It gives me comfort to know that there are thousands of great films out there, waiting for me to discover them.

I’m thankful for my favorite filmmakers: Lukas Moodysson, Arnaud Desplechin, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Rebecca Miller, The Coen Brothers, Michael Haneke, Gus Van Sant, Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Sidney Lumet, Todd Field, Darren Aronofsky, Alfonso Cuaron, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Larry Clark, Harmony Korine, Lars von Trier, David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Terrence Malick, Judd Apatow, Susanne Bier, Steven Spielberg, David O. Russell, Mike Nichols, Walter Salles, Alexander Payne, Jonathan Demme, Sofia Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, Jim Sheridan, Gabriele Muccino, Peter Weir, Fernando Meirelles, Danny Boyle, Roman Polanski, Spike Jonze, Pedro Almodovar, Michael Winterbottom, Cameron Crowe, James L. Brooks, Alejandro Amenabar, David Wain, John Cameron Mitchell, Julian Schnabel, Curtis Hanson, Stephen Frears, Sam Mendes, Doug Liman, Frank Darabont, the Wachowskis, Milos Forman, Whit Stillman, Ang Lee, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton, and so many more that I’ve forgotten.

For all those who think “they just don’t make ’em like they used to,” I’d like them to take a look at the list above and name me a time when so much talent was behind the camera at the same time.  These filmmakers give me so much to be thankful for, whether I enjoy their films or not; because I know at the end of the day, they make films that I’m glad to have seen.

I could go on about the great things in my own life, from wonderful friends to an amazing family, but each and every one of those people knows how truly thankful I am to have them.

The single thing I’m most thankful for, though?  The feeling of walking into a film, expecting greatness, every single time.  Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

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One Response to “Thanks”

  1. EthanG says:

    Thanks for being an incisive, relatable, & intelligent commentator for many years. It’s great to see you’re getting some great interviews.

    PS….I doubt it had anything with my comment on your Par 2 column, but props for checking out “Monsters.” The other 3 films I mentioned there are great (though Im kind of sad for Jim Sturgess…please get a new manager), though maybe not quite up to that level…..In my opinion, there is a large pool of horror fans that give overall art-house/foreign language fans a run for their money in critical appreciation. The key is getting great horror films in circulation…which probably will never happen, but a good attempt never hurt.

    Also, the props for Agora deserve praise

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