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David Poland

By David Poland

12 Weeks To Oscar: The Battle Of Black Swan

THE LOVED/DESPISED – This one is the Battle of the title of this column. Black Swan. More than any film in the race, aside from Inception in its moment, Swannie is The buzz film. “I can’t believe they did that!” “But was she the one or was the other girl?” “Oh my GOD!” “I can’t wait to see it again!” “Worst film of the year!” (That last one is a direct quote from an Academy voter.)

Darren Aronofsky & Co have delivered a film that is both extreme genre and high art. Obviously, it doesn’t work for everyone. But the film is already looking like it will outperform expectations at the box office. But even more so at the buzz office.

Question is, is it Over-60s who will be the ones who hate it and make it impossible for it to win? Or will the buzz and some surprising box office make them stop and think about it again?

The rest….

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One Response to “12 Weeks To Oscar: The Battle Of Black Swan”

  1. PastePotPete says:

    People who’re trashing The Black Swan are spitting into the wind. Has there ever been an instance where a movie is this highly divisive and the pro-movie crowd WASN’T ultimately on the winning side of history? The only time I can think of is Crash, and the support for that film was more lukewarm than not, iirc.

    Pretty much EVERY Stanley Kubrick movie had a highly polarized reaction when they were initially released, right? And his reputation has only increased since his death.

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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