MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

By Mike Wilmington

MW on DVDs: The American, Cronos, I am Love … and more


The American (Three Stars)

U.S.; Anton Corbijn, 2010 (Universal)

I like George Clooney. No off-color psychological speculations, please.

What I like about him is the easy-going “good guy” way he plays the Hollywood game. I like his politics, his philanthropy, his unpretentious smarts, his good-natured jock style, his taste in movie scripts, his daring as a director, his wry grin, his sense of fun and his sense of seriousness.

And I like the fact that he‘s a stunning-looking guy who can effortlessly get all the things available to stunning-looking guys — the ladies, the jobs, the laughs and whatever else — but that he doesn’t rub our noses in it, or act like he‘s always on the make, or pump himself up with vanity and vacuous self-regard. I like that he makes fun of himself, and even makes fun of the American obsession with stunning-looking guy s and gorgeous women and using your looks to get ahead. As Clint Eastwood likes to say about himself and his philosophy, Clooney takes the work seriously, but not himself seriously.

The American, Clooney’s latest movie, is a good example of Clooney’s work ethic and ambition, his Paul Newmanesque good-guy persona. It’s an eye-popping, laconic, dramatically perverse mix of art film and classy romantic thriller that deliberately tramples on the current norms and box-office formulas. Instead, it summons up memories of esoteric European suspense dramas like Melville’s Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge, and Antonioni‘s The Passenger, rather than the more obvious models you’d expect, like Bourne and Bond.

It’s a good film, beautifully visualized, a little self-indulgent maybe, and a little spare of script. Clooney‘s star role is as an assassin/gunsmith variously known as Jack, Edward and Butterfly, dodging bullets on a hideaway in the lush Abruzzi mountain country of Italy, and involved with several knockout ladies, a philosophical priest, and an impatient employer (some or all of whom may mean him harm). It’s an uncharacteristic minimalist job, fraught with tension and less heavy on the usual Clooney trumps of charm and personality.

Like Le Samourai, that classic neo-noir of the ‘60s with Alain Delon as a somber Parisian hit man, The American is about a perfectionist in murder whose world is coming apart and who (unwisely, perhaps) seems to fall in love. So the film begins with a botched attack and a startling rub-out and it stays tense and opaque, keeps mixing sex and menace the rest of the way.

During most of The American — a movie in which Clooney’s character fends off attacks, constructs a super-gun for another (female) assassin, engages in some very authentic-looking lovemaking and strolls around the hilly streets and chic shops of that Abruzzi village — Jack simply appears scared shitless or about to be. Or lost in some confused, apprehensive reverie. He looks as if something is sneaking up behind him — and it is.

The movie’s source is the novel A Very Private Gentleman, by Martin Booth, which is apparently less opaque, and less spare of story. And screenwriter Rowan Joffe (who is now at work adapting that classic British thriller Brighton Rock by Graham Greene), gives it the Harold Pinter strip-the-dialogue-to the-bone treatment. People say little and conceal their meanings and feelings, if not their private parts. But then how much is there to say when you’re in Abruzzi, ducking your boss (Johan Leysen as the sinister, corpse-like Pavel) pretending to be a photographer, walking around by yourself, or making a gun, or frenziedly copulating? I’d be mum too.

A lot happens in The American, and it happens very stylishly, thanks to cinematographer Martin Ruhe, designer Mark Digby, and director Anton Corbijn. Corbijn is the Dutch filmmaker and music video maker who made Control, that very stylish black-and-white bio-drama on front man/suicide Ian Curtis and Joy Division, and here he fills the screen with beauty and dread, the way Polanski and Hitchcock do or did, but somewhat less bitingly and with far less lacerating suspense.

We first see Jack in Sweden, my grandparents’ homeland, where we kibitz on a foiled hit that might be described as Bergmanesque. Then comes that Antonionian trip to Abruzzi and encounter with the lady killer, Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), a sub-Fellini interlude in the local bordello with a knockout local whore, Clara (played by the spectacularly beautiful Violante Placido, the daughter of The Godfather’s Simonetta Stefanelli, Michael Corleone’s bride), a somewhat De Sica-ish or Ermanno Olmiesque conversation on American existentialism in a graveyard with an elderly priest, Father Benedetti (Paolo Bonacelli), stark scenes of Melvillean samurai loneliness where the hatless Clooney channels Alain Delon, architectural beauties out of early Alain Resnais documentaries, and a final enigmatic shootout that suggests Sergio Leone hired as a gunsmith by elegant hit man Bernardo Bertolucci. (Both were involved in Leone‘s Once Upon a Time in the West, which Jack sees here on TV. A grand allusion?)

The American sometimes seems like a film festival disguised as a picturesque neo-noir thriller. But it’s a neo-noir that also plays as if it would rather be a psychological drama about alienation and personal collapse, and that keeps avoiding the violent paydays we seem to expect of our supposed “thrillers.” Despite those inviting Abruzzi mountain roads, for example, there’s no car-chase scene, not even one reminiscent of Dino Risi and Il Sorpasso, or of Fellini and La Dolce Vita — though, at one point near the end, Jack does drive very, very fast.

Who but Clooney could get away with something like this? Corbijn’s Control was bleak and sad, and this movie is so sparse, so melancholy, that Jack’s fiddling with the gun becomes a sort of action scene by default. The movie’s sex almost totally supplants the usual gunfights, which was fine by me. I saw three other movie shootouts the same day anyway.

Yet, lugubrious though it may seem to some, The American is not anti-American, no matter what Father Benedetti existentially mumbles in the graveyard. The presence of Clooney alone tips the balance in our favor. There is a specific pro-European bias that has always been part of American culture, and they (especially the French) have often returned the compliment — as indeed, Jean-Pierre Melville did in Le Samourai, The American‘s cinematic god father. The compliment is mutually exchanged here.

Want to see a beautifully-shot thriller, with beautiful people in beautiful surroundings? Here it is — despite a script that could be better and smarter, and too much fancy bleakness, and dialogue that could be sharper and wittier, and no car-chases in sight. It’s no Syriana. It’s no Michael Clayton. And it’s certainly no Samourai. But it looks like a nice working holiday for our pal George. He deserves one.



Cronos (Three and a Half Stars)

Cronos, a vampire movie for aficionados, was the first feature film of 28-year-old Mexican moviemaker Guillermo Del Toro. And it’s the fulfillment of a long-time dream. Where a lot of Del Toro’s classmates at film school in Mexico probably wanted to make films like the great Italian cineastes Fellini and Antonioni, makers of the classics La Dolce Vita, and L’Avventura, Del Toro — whose views of life and cinema were a little darker, more sinister, more stylishly loony — wanted to make movies like the great Italian horror-meisters Dario Argento, Mario Bava and Lucio Fulce, makers of Suspiria, Black Sunday and Zombie.

He did. The irony is that Del Toro, a jocular kid with artistic gifts from Guadalajara, achieved his dream and has already surpassed all of his masters — especially with his modern 2006 horror/art classic Pan‘s Labyrinth — whereas our chances of seeing a Mexican 8 ½, a Mexican Blow-up or even a Mexican Bicycle Thief seem still distant.

If we do see them, they will almost certainly be made by Del Toro’s two best movie buddies, Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Amores Perros), the other two members of that celebrated, ultra-talented, genial and ingenious Mexican cinematic trio “The Three Amigos.“ (Friends for years, they hang out, swap ideas and jokes, and act as unofficial advisors on each other’s movies. Their joint company is called Cha Cha Cha Productions.)

Cronos, Del Toro’s first feature — which came out in 1993 and won the Cannes Festival International Critics Prize and a flock of Ariels (Mexican Oscars), including Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director — is a vampire movie of unusual style and subtlety, with a superb cast, deeper-than-usual characterizations, brilliant twists on the usual horror movie clichés, and horrific images that brand themselves on your brain. (Cronos” nonpareil cinematographer, Guillermo Navarro, is Del Toro’s regular shooter, and Navarro won an Oscar for photographing Pan‘s Labyrinth.)

The star of Cronos is the legendary Argentine leading man, Federico Luppi, here playing a good-hearted, brainy and knowledgable Mexican antique dealer, Jesus Gris, who runs across an ancient device in his dusty shop — a sort of golden watch with wicked pincers — that grants you sort-of-eternal life, with the downside that it also turns you into a vampire, and requires you to drink blood and sleep in a coffin. (Among the movie’s unforgettable images: Jesus, starved and desperate, deliriously dropping to the floor of a seemingly empty men’s room and lapping up blood by a sink.)

Jesus, forced into a life style that doesn’t suit his true nature, his paternal benevolence, also gets on the bad side of two unscrupulous and thoroughly evil foes who want the cronos too: the rich and amoral De La Guardia (played by one of Luis Bunuel’s actors, fancy man Claudio Brook), and De La Guardia’s brutal factotum/son Angel (played by Ron Perlman, who was later Del Toro’s Hellboy). Jesus’ one great ally is the sweet little granddaughter he must protect and who tends his coffin, Aurora (Tamara Shanath, whose part looks ahead to the little girl visionary in Pan‘s Labyrinth).

What happens to these four is what usually happens in horror movies, but happens here with more style, drama and humanity. We believe in these characters as we believe in very few of the victims and/or monsters in the films of Del Toro’s idols and mentors Bava, Fulce and Argento. (Not that we have to, to enjoy their movies.) And the story affected me as I’m never touched by the current wave of chic megahit vampire movies, especially those Twilight teen swoonfests. (Not that I’m the right audience for them.) We know what Del Toro’s people think, how their hearts beat, how their blood streams. We know intimately their waking nightmares. When the cronos stabs them, we feel it.

Del Toro lavishes on these bloody fairytales, a sensibility and artistry — and a beauty and tenderness — that almost seems too much. But sensibility, beauty and artistry deserve understanding and/or applause wherever we see them. After all, even Fellini once made a horror movie (with Terence Stamp) of Poe’s Never Bet the Devil Your Head (or words to that effect) a.k.a. Toby Dammit. Pretty damned good, as I recall. Never got that bouncing head out of my mind. Ditto with Jesus’ coffin here. (In English and Spanish, with English subtitles.)

Extras: Commentaries by Del Toro and his Cronos producers; Del Toro‘s previously unreleased 1987 horror short “Geometria” (Three Stars); Del Toro‘s video tour of his offices, “Welcome to Bleak House“; Interviews with Del Toro, Luppi, Perlman, and Navarro; Trailer; Stills gallery; Booklet with Del Toro’s notes for “Cronos,” and an essay by Maitland McDonagh.


Le Combat de l‘Ile (Three and a Half Stars)

France: Alain Cavalier, 1961 (Zeitgeist)

In the politically volatile Paris of the early ‘60s, a divided nation run by De Gaulle and embroiled in the Algerian conflict, a wealthy industrialist‘s son and young right wing extremist named Clement (played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, of “Z“ and “The Conformist“) is assigned the job of assassinating a left-wing deputy, supervised by an older man, a longtime reactionary terrorist.

When the job is bungled and the conspiracy exposed, Clement goes on the run with his beautiful young ex-stage-actress wife Anne (Romy Schneider), hiding out at the home of his old school friend Paul (Henry Serre, the Jim of Truffaut’s Jules and Jim) who is now a left-wing pacifist, unaware of Clement’s extremism. There is a betrayal, another death plot — and, the main key to all the emotions we witness, a passionate triangle between Clement, Anne and Paul, which ends in the “combat de l‘ile“ of the title.

In the early ‘60s the world wide success of two great New Wave film noirs, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless and Francois Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player, was part of a real post-Rififi French explosion of the form among young and emerging moviemakers. This unusual but model noir, Combat de l’Ile, almost unknown in the U.S. but highly regarded in France, was the first film of a writer-director you wouldn’t normally associate with noir at all: Alain Cavalier, who made the austere, brilliant religious film Therese, a Cannes Jury Prize awardee, and multiple French Oscar winner, in 1986.

It’s also the first “serious feature” of the superb cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, who later shot such legendary French films as Chris Marker’s Le Joli Mai, Jean Eustache‘s The Mother and the Whore, and the Jean Pierre Melville WW2 Resistance drama Army of Shadows.

Cavalier, however, was a real devotee of the classic American ‘40s and ‘50s thrillers, and he knew the rules of the game. He lists his big inlfuences here as Robert Bresson, Jean Renoir and “American film noir.” (Another influence, according to Lhomme, was the ‘30s naturalist cinema poet Jean Vigo, of L‘Atalante). Combat de l’Ile, scripted by Cavalier and with dialogue by Jean-Paul Rappeneau (director of the excellent 1990 Gerard Depardieu-starring Cyrano de Bergerac), and supervised by Louis Malle (for whom Cavalier had been assistant director on Malle’s classic noir Elevator to the Gallows), is shot in beautifully austere black and white, in Paris and in the country.

It‘s marvelous-looking, oddly poetic, laced with anguish. Cavalier’s film may lack the grim punch, cynical milieu and salty characters of the great French noirs, like Rififi, The Wages of Fear and Second Breath. But Combat compensates with a pure, unabashed romanticism that reminds you of Out of the Past or Nick Ray’s They Live by Night.

It also has a wonderful cast, headed by Trintignant (with his sinister Conformist calm, Serre with his dreamy romantic certitude, and, most important, the ravishing catlike, but sadly self-destructive beauty Romy Schneider, here breaking hearts and sipping too much wine, just as she did in life. (In French, with English subtitles.)

Extras: Cavalier‘s 2010 short France 1961 (Three Stars), about the making of Le Combat de l’Ile; photos from Louis Malle archive; booklet with essays by Lhomme and Elliott Stein.



Greatest Classic Movies Collection: Busby Berkeley Musicals (Three and a Half Stars)

U. S.: Various directors, 1933-36 (TCM/Warner Brothers)

Busby Berekely was the wildly imaginative, totally inimitable, wondrously absurd movie musical choreographer who — working for Warner Brothers in the ‘30s — turned the dance floor into a kaledioscope, made the cameras fly, and set the Warners soundstages ablaze and abloom with hundreds of smiling, lightly dressed (or undressed) chorus girls who, under Berteley’s tutelage and generalship, became an unprecedented army of dazzling dames.

The songs in the shows were usually by Al Dubin (words) and Harry Warren (music): bouncy, catchy and risqué, Depression-proof. (Warren wrote that proletarian classic “I Found a Million Dollar Baby in the Five and Ten Cent Store.”)

The Warners casts were memorably energetic, spry, uniquely Berkeleyesque: dimpled Dick Powell, sweetie Ruby Keeler, sassy Ginger rigers and tough cookie Joan Blondell to sing the songs, and dance the dances; streetwise Allen Jenkins, nervous Frank McHugh, barmy Hugh (“Woo Woo!“) Herbert and foxy grandpa Guy Kibbee for comedy, and, for one glorious movie (Footlight Parade, see below), Jimmy Cagney at his jazziest as Berkely alter-ego choreographer-director-reluctant star Chester Kent to hoof and dream and slap people around.

And the result was unmistakably Berkeley: hot and saucy mixtures of fast-talking Depression-era cynicism, Boy-Meets-Girl romance, and outlandish musical numbers that were supposed to be staged in Broadway or Chicago theatres, but could have taken palce on no theatrtical stage on earth, except maybe the Roman Coliseum, with a few major alterations. Watch the last three incredible numbers in Berkeley‘s incredible masterpiece Footlight Parade — three numbers supposedly staged one after the other in separate Chicago theaters — and your jaw will damned well drop to your ankles.

Lots of directors and choreographers have tried to copy Berkeley’s dancing cameras and his patented kaleidoscopic “top shots“ ever since the ‘30s (though Fred Astaire‘s and Gene Kelly‘s great routines were, in a way, revolts against the Berkeley trend). But the mimics lack Berkeley‘s energy, his pizzazz, his razzmatazz, his full-blown embrace of absurdity. Most of all, they lack Busby Berkeley himself.

But our moves will have Buz and his dames forever. And this TCM set has Berkeley times four, with lots of girl-power. And, of course, a waterfall. Note: The more complete (and more expensive) Warner Berkeley sets, even the old six disc “Busby Berkeley Collection“ are obviously superior choices. But, as a bargain set, this four movie two disc box, with lots of extras, is a good buy for non-completists

Includes: 42nd Street (U.S.: D: Lloyd Bacon; Choreographer: Berkeley, 1933). (Four Stars) The most famous of all Berkeley musicals. Warner Baxter is the driven, tormented director, Dick Powell the writer-tenor, Ginger Rogers the vamp, and Ruby Keeler the little girl who’s going out a chorus girl but coming back a star. Stanley Kubrick named this as one of his ten all-time favorite films; lots of people agree with him. Songs: “42nd Street,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “You’re Getting to be a Habit With Me.”

Footlight Parade (U.S.: D: Bacon. Chor: Berkeley, 1933) (Four Stars). Berkeley‘s bestmovie. Jimmy Cagney, at his zippiest and toughest, is the Berekely surrogate, Dick Powell is the smiling songwriter, Ruby Keeler the sweetheart singer, Joan Blondell the gal Friday. And, my God, those last three numbers — the cheerfully lewd “Honeymoon Hotel” (with Billy Barty as a rascally infant), the outrageous water ballet to “By a Waterfall,” and the snazzy Von Sternbergian melodrama and New Deal march “Shanghai Lil” — are mindblowers of the first order.

Dames (U.S.: D: Ray Enright. Chor: Berkeley, 1934) (Three Stars). Powell, Keeler, Kibbee and Herbert again. Another opening, another show. The songs include the classics “Dames“ and “I Only Have Eyes for You” and the amazing “When You Were a Smile on Your Mother‘s Lips, and a Twinkle in Your Daddy’s Eye.”

Gold Diggers of 1937 (U.S.: D: Bacon. Chor: Berkeley, 1936) (Three Stars).
A pretty silly movie; incredibly, it’s from a play by Dick Maibaum, who went on to write most of the urbane James Bond movies. In it, Dick Powell sells insurance, and Osgood Perkins (Tony’s dad) tries to collect triple indemnity on musical show backer Victor Moore, while Dick, Joan Blondell and Lee Dixon throw a show together. Berkeley, who got musical ideas from his stretch in the military in WW1 as a field artillery lieutenant, shows off his fighting spirit in the campy boy’s army vs. girl’s army number “All’s Fail in Love and War.” Also: “With Plenty of Money and You.”

Extras: Vintage musical shorts (Including one with Harry Warren playing his songs on piano), dramatic shorts and Looney Tunes; Featurettes; Excerpt from 1929’s “Gold Diggers of Broadway”; Radio promos; Trailers; Notes on Berkeley.


I Am Love (Three Stars)

Italy: Luca Guadagnino, 2009 (Magnolia)

A super-rich Italian industrialist divides his power among his son and grandson, precipitating all kinds of emotional and business crises, especially rattling his son’s beautiful, troubled Russian wife (Tilda Swinton) and her lover, the master chef best friend of her son.

Over-rated, I think; the dialogue is uninspired and the sets really made me miss Visconti. The visuals too often resembled a British TV period drama rather than, say The Leopard or The Damned. But it’s intelligent, well-acted, well-shot: a good realistic drama with ideas about life, and with a fine score by John Adams. I may be too rough on it. (English and Italian, with English subtitles.).

Extras: Commentary by Guadagnino and Swinton; Featurette; Interviews with cast and crew.

And Soon the Darkness (One Star)
U.S.; Marcos Efron, 2010

Back in 1970, director Robert Fuest and producer-writer Brian Clemens (two smart veterans of TV’s cult show The Avengers) made a stylish little British sleeper-thriller called And Soon the Darkness — about pretty British girls bicycling through France, a disappearance, and possible abduction and/or murder. The star was Pamela Franklin (Maggie Smith‘s prize student in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) and the movie had a nice pace, good looks and some effective pseudo-Hitchcockian suspense.

This remake, retooled for sexy American bicyclists zipping through Argentina, and directed and co-written by Marcos Efron, looks good too: Gabriel Beristain is the cinematographer, and Amber Heard and Odette Yustman are the bike gals, with Yustman the lady who vanishes. But, as you might expect from this kind of contemporary terror-cheesecake remix (Efron wastes little time getting Heard and Yustman into a pickup bar and then into bikinis) the treatment is creepier and more sordid than it was in 1970, that now classic-looking era when lots of people thought movie sex was going too far.

The real reason for the low rating here is the script: the shockingly inept dialogue and witless plotting that have replaced the competent workm anship of Fuest’s and Clemens’ film. The sole motivation for most of the action in the new Darkness is outrageous stupidity and chronic carelessness on the part of everyone: victim, villains and innocent bystanders alike. In my experience, nobody in the world talks like the people in this movie except the characters in very bad screenplays. Luckily, Beristain does light and shoot some macabre sets — and capture some nice scenery, the heroines included. (In English and Spanish, no subtitles.)

Madam Satan (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.: Cecil B. DeMille, 1930 (Warner Archive)

Maybe the craziest of all the early talkie DeMille movies, and that’s saying something.

We’re familiar with C. B.’s lavish historical pageants and sin-packed biblical spectacles. Here’s one of his plush pre-Code sex comedy-dramas, set among the philandering rich. Reginald Denny is a wandering rake of a husband. Roland Young is his drunken addled chum. Lillian Roth (the biographical subject of I’ll Cry Tomorrow) is his raunchy mistress. Kay Johnson is his long-suffering wife — who goes through a kind of Up in Mabel’s Room sub-Feydeau sex farce with everybody, and then decides to masquerade, at her horny spouse’s next bash, as a French-accented temptress with a black mask, in a revealing gown with black flame patterns covering her intimate parts. Sort of.

Calling herself “Madam Satan,” and hiding her true identity as a faithful wife, she joins her lesser half for a wild Led Zeppelin of a party aboard an anchored dirigible that turns into a near catastrophe, with the revelers shrieking and plummeting in parachutes to earth. Johnson‘s apparent goal: to show her errant hubby Reg that lechery begins at home.

Ridiculous almost beyond words. The first act sex farce, with everybody clambering in and out of bed, is, to be kind, idiotic. The dirigible party seems to have been modeled on the underground factory-city in “Metropolis,” as reconceived for a revival of Franz Liebkind‘s author‘s cut of “Springtime for Hitler.“ The “evil” costumes, especially Madam Satan’s, beggar description. But I’ve got to say it’s entertaining. Sort of.

Made on demand. Link Warnerarchive/com.

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2 Responses to “MW on DVDs: The American, Cronos, I am Love … and more”

  1. George says:

    Mike, thanks for offering some well-spoken praise on “The American” in a way that echoes everything I like about Clooney, too. It takes real stones to have made a film like that today, when everyone involved must have known it would disappoint many for lacking the usual noise and nonsense.

  2. Muriel Coote says:

    I carry on listening to the newscast talk about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i acquire some?


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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