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David Poland

By David Poland

Happy Brithday To THB

14 years now since we started down the daily content road on the internet. And like a typical guy, I forgot my anniversary… which was Monday.

It was The Hot Button… it’s now The Hot Blog.

Here are the rules of the road. I think that #2 needs a numeric and revenue sources rewrite, but aside from that, these principles are all just as important today as they were then.

Thanks for being part of my conversation.


1. Great Media Outlets’ Standards Are Less Stringent When The Subject Is Entertainment And That Sucks.

2. $150 Million Is No Longer A Blockbuster In Theatrical… But Right Now Represents The Start Of A Road To More Than $200 Million In Returns to The Studio In Most Cases Thanks To The New DVD Market And Expanded International Theatrical Market.

3. Successful Movie Advertising Sells One Idea At A Time… And There Actually Has To Be An Idea Worth Selling

4. The Story Of The Moment Is Almost Never The Real Story

5. There Are Very Few Journalists In Entertainment Journalism

6. Talent Is Your Friend Until It’s Time For Talent Not To Be Your Friend

7. Reviewing Scripts Or Test Screenings Is Selfish And Immoral… You Do Not Know What Effect Sticking Your Nose Into Process Will Have And More Often Than Not It Is Negative

8. Opening Weekend Is Never About The Quality Of The Movie

9. There Are Things I Know And Things I Don’t Know And Sometimes They Change

10.Love What You Do And Do What You Love Or Get The Fuck Out.

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23 Responses to “Happy Brithday To THB”

  1. Ray Pride says:

    There ya go. Was this the first entry?

  2. David Poland says:

    GCC teaming with Redford to do Sundance Theaters. Deal fell apart, though they did launch some Sundance Theaters in the last couple of years.

    Column started a month before DreamWorks’ first release. Lots of water under those bridges.

  3. scootrzz says:

    i would really like seeing you revisit/revise those rules of thumb…that said, happy birthday…

  4. Bob Burns says:

    read THB daily for 11 of 14. thanks.

    rule #1……! it still sucks

  5. Captain Celluloid says:


    Great list.

    Our version of number 10 was/is:

    GET OFF . . . . OR GET OUT

    Hmmm, looks filthier than I imagined in print.

    Congrats redux

    Looking forward to 14 more


  6. spassky says:

    is it the 23rd or 24th… if it is the 24th then the good ol’ hot blog and I have the same birthday!

  7. anghus says:

    happy birthday. i liked your rules except for the last one which sounded like a motivational poster that would feature Hulk Hogan.

  8. Triple Option says:

    Yay, Happy Birthday!! Cake! Cake! Cake! Cake!

    Quick question, what did you mean by “6. Talent Is Your Friend Until It’s Time For Talent Not To Be Your Friend?”

  9. David Poland says:

    Sadly, the 22nd, Spassky.

    For a few years, I decided to celebrate on the 25th, my sister’s birthday, but some people seem to know too much for me to fudge.

  10. Joe Leydon says:

    In other words — my birthday, Aug. 22. Hey, for years I shared the same birthday as Leni Reifenstahl. In fact, she turned 100 the year I turned 50.

  11. The Pope says:

    This was the first movie blog I ever read and I still don’t know how I stumbled upon it in 1998.

    Happy visits ever since.

    Mazel tov!

  12. Anthony says:

    Happy Birthday. I started reading after your appearence on Siskel and Ebert. Rule #5 is truer than ever.

  13. Rob says:

    Happy birthday! I remember reading you at Rough Cut when I was in high school and we had AOL dial-up.

  14. I live in Venezuela and I visit The Hot Button everyday since 1999. Sometimes I get furious at David but most of the time I understand better the industry and I get new perspectives on movies. Ah, …and when I agree with David’s view it’s pure joy. Congratulations on this 14th Anniversary.

  15. bulldog68 says:

    Congrats Dave. Started reading in Trinidad and now live in Canada. When I first realized that I liked the ‘business’ end of show business, the only thing we used to get was the National Enquirer. Yeah…that bad. Eventually I found Premiere magazine, and then thanks to the internet, Rough Cut and now The Hot Blog. I was having a conversation with a professor at a film dept in a local university and he was astonished that I knew so much about distribution and movie marketing and who gets what percentage of the pie from week to week of a movie’s release. For a guy who does not work in the industry, he was amazed that I knew more than some of his students. Who’d a thunk it. I learned something here. Thanks for the years. Hope many more to come.

  16. Luke K says:

    Thanks for all of the years of enjoyment. I’ve been reading now for around a decade. You and Bill Simmons were two of my first loyal blogs. I rarely post but have enjoyed your editorials, viewpoints, conviction and those of others in the comments section immensely.

  17. JKill says:

    I’ve been reading for about six years now, and I started commenting about a year ago. There are very few days during that time where I haven’t touched base with this site AT LEAST once, and it’s usually much more than that.

    Cheers DP and Happy B-Day, THB!

  18. hcat says:

    Been with you since 99, I can’t tell you how many work hours I frittered away reading the site. Thanks for getting me through my day.

  19. samguy says:

    I seem to recall first hearing about THB when Rod Lurie did his movie show on KABC on Sat afternoon here in L.A. Got hooked very soon. Before blogging and posting, DP would post an email from a “Reader of the Day.”

    DP showed his wisdom by usually choosing very insightful, witty emails from ROTD’S who seemed to posess above average intellgience, some of were were probably as attracitve and charming in life as well.

    Happy anniversary!

  20. Not David Bordwell says:

    Been reading Poland for all 14, since discovering TNT Roughcut and devouring every single “Big Picture” column in like, a week.

    Didn’t know you worked for the Trib, Dave.

    This reads a bit like a greatest hits:

    Who the hell is Luke Ford? You let him watch football at your house?

  21. berg says:

    Rough Cut … i sat next to Poland on the bus ride from the waldorf astoria to the sony lincoln cinema for the godzilla junket …. leydon was there too, but he was at a different hotel and took the streets

  22. cadavra says:

    The first 14 are always the toughest. Keep fighting the good fight!

  23. Senh says:

    Been reading your column/blog since Rough Cut. Happy belated anniversary.

The Hot Blog

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