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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB 42313

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25 Responses to “BYOB 42313”

  1. Pete B. says:

    So no Weekend Estimate this week?

  2. anghus says:

    I like the Luhrman quote on the right side of the page. We should encourage interpretations, not bludgeon them for taking a risk. I don’t even like Luhrman. But the fact that he’s willing to take on a literary institution with his own particular zeal should be commended. Even if it doesn’t work. I remember when Romeo and Juliet was. It came out in college while I was working for a Shakespeare festival. People would read quotes from Dicaprio doing press for it and laugh at how off the mark he was. Professors with Doctorates would blast every aspect of it as being “everything wrong with modern interpretation of Shakespeare.”. It was loathed on an academic level. But ask my wife who saw it when she was in middle school, and she thinks it was awesome. Be er forget the impact of first impressions.

    there are a lot of people out there who might be about to get their first exposure to Gatsby. Just as Leo and Claire Danes were their first exposure to Shakespeare. Gatsby might not be a big hit with English Lit Professors, but it might go over like gangbusters with the teen demo.

  3. berg says:

    can’t wait to see the reactions to the upcoming Much Ado About Nothing …. personally I found it on the mark and quite profound at the end

  4. anghus says:

    Berg, I’m excited about that one. Looks right up my alley.

  5. palmtree says:

    Seriously…Shakespeare would have faded away if it weren’t for new interpretations that could excite a new generation. The Zefferelli version wasn’t doing English teachers many favors by the time I was in school.

  6. SamLowry says:

    English teachers avoided it like the plague because of the nudity.

    I was at a middle school when the new CLASH OF THE TITANS came out and they announced they were going to show the original to the whole school. “What?” I thought, but the administrators know best–didn’t think the school was that hip–but hardly 5 minutes before they were supposed to start they announced they wouldn’t be showing it. Guess someone finally gave it a view.

    Ah, ’80s PG films–thanks for the mammaries, err, memories.

  7. storymark says:

    When I saw the Zifferelli film in school, my teacher had spliced in, of all things, a Mr. Clean commercial over the nudity.

  8. berg says:

    in college my drama professor pointed out the subliminal gay subtext between Tybalt and Benvolio in the Zeffirelli version

  9. berg says:

    okay we know you have been waiting for a NINE HOUR version of Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus, so here it is:–9NqLU

  10. palmtree says:

    Our class got to see the nudity. Not only that, I remember rewinding it to watch it again…it was a summer class of all guys. So yeah, it was a seminal experience, and A Time For Us is a pretty catchy song, but other than those two things…what has Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet ever done for us?

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Palmtree, if you want to look at it that way, what has any film ever done for us? As Oscar Wilde once noted: All art is quite useless.

  12. Jermsguy says:

    Reminds me of the scene from Life of Brian.

    “What have the Romans ever given us?”
    “The aqueduct.”

    I loved Titus with Anthony Hopkins. One of those plays no one ever puts on, but we got to see it on film. Love all of Branagh’s efforts (except for Love’s Labours Lost).

  13. palmtree says:

    The Monty Python reference was intentional. Thanks for noticing.

    Obviously I was kidding Joe, but to answer honestly, the most basic thing art gives us is something to experience and talk about collectively. So mission accomplished.

  14. chris says:

    I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on the new weekly Variety. I have subscribed for more than 20 years and I just canceled — it has become completely worthless.

  15. movieman says:

    Totally agree, Chris. And the revamped Variety website is even more of an
    I’ve been a subscriber since the mid-’70s and seriously considered NOT renewing after getting a look at their “new and improved” website.
    I’ll give them one more year to, uh, work out the kinks. If not, it’s adios for me.

  16. Foamy Squirrel says:

    So, Iron Man 3. Wow.

    And not a good “Wow”.

    Let’s be clear – it’s not a bad movie. Ben Kingsley is fantastic, and Downey is always charismatic. But we’ve seen better – from Marvel pics in general and Iron Man in particular. We’re a little bit spoiled, but there’s some horrifically terrible storytelling decisions that went on.

    First, it’s divorced from the established continuity. You know how other Marvel films have crossover characters etc. Nope, not here – none of the other Avengers show up, and established continuity is only referenced in a “Hey, weren’t you in that battle in New York?” way. Most tellingly, where the previous post-credits sequences were used to foreshadow an upcoming film, here it’s essentially the Schwarma sequence instead – a couple of characters just hanging out.

    Second, the plot is dumb. I mean dumb to the point where Rebecca Hall’s character could be edited out of the entire movie and you would never know. It almost feels like it should have been a Captain America plot, and they just inserted some Industrialist sideplot to try and make it more “Iron Man-y”. Stark spends the entire climax trying to PUNCH PEOPLE – and the actual “victory” sequence is telegraphed 10 minutes before it occurs. Again, most tellingly, when War Machine – the suit of armor where the Army literally said “put everything in” – is used as a people transporter and doesn’t fire a single shot, you have to wonder if they were paying attention.

    And last, the post-climax denouement just hand-waves the character into oblivion. It’s almost literally “Tony Stark fixed all his, and everyone else’s, problems because apparently the only thing holding him back was no-one bothered to put it in his meeting calendar” Again, most tellingly, when the billionaire meets a kid with an absent father and ends the movie MAILING THE KID TOYS – JUST LIKE AN ABSENT FATHER… there’s this thing called “character development” which apparently they don’t get.

    It’s got some great comedy sequences, but it’s crushingly inept at telling an actual story. And we’ve seen what can be done with the genre and this character, and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth afterwards.

  17. chris says:

    @Movieman — I’ve decided I can adapt to the website, although I agree that they made it worse not better. But the stuff I’m interested in mostly seems to be there and I’m so not-interested in what they’re putting in the hard copy version that I just canceled my subscription. And I’m a hard-copy guy!

  18. SamLowry says:

    Interesting that in the same week we have both Hollywood Risks Glut This Summer and 5 Reasons Superhero Movies Are a Bubble That Will Soon Burst.

    The latter’s parallelism with the “New Hollywood” era feels quite shaky, and the writer never even raises the argument made in the former article at all–that there simply aren’t enough moviegoers with enough disposable income to make every superhero movie coming down the pike a hit.

  19. SamLowry says:

    From Maureen Dowd‘s article about Gatsby, a whole bunch of cluelessness:

    Sez Carey Mulligan, who plays Daisy Buchanan in Baz’s epic: “She’s in her own TV show. She’s like a Kardashian.”

    Daisy didn’t spend her time whoring her image to the media because she was already financially secure. And really, that’s what it’s all about? Either you’re a Kardashian or you’re nobody?

    “…the Australian director argues that Fitzgerald was a modernist who was fascinated with new cinematic techniques and jazz when it was dangerous, so he would have been intrigued by 3-D and rap.”

    Didn’t Kozlowski invite Jimmy Buffett to the party that landed him in prison? Rich white folks, even the nouveau riche, don’t listen to rap.

    “Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, understands that we’re drawn back to “Gatsby” because we keep seeing modern buccaneers of banking and hedge funds, swathed in carelessness and opulence. “But what most people don’t understand is that the adjective ‘Great’ in the title was meant laconically,” he said. “There’s nothing genuinely great about Gatsby. He’s a poignant phony. Owing to the money-addled society we live in, people have lost the irony of Fitzgerald’s title. So the movies become complicit in the excessively materialistic culture that the novel set out to criticize.”

    Which is good, but he follows that astute observation with “A really great movie of the novel…would “show a dissenting streak of austerity.” He thinks it’s time for a black Gatsby, noting that Jay-Z might be an inspirational starting point — “a young man of talents with an unsavory past consumed by status anxiety and ascending unstoppably through tireless self-promotion and increasingly conspicuous wealth.””

    A dissenting streak of austerity–Jay-Z?

    And from the Los Angeles Times:

    “Other tunes, such as Jay-Z’s hard-edged “100$ Bill,” draw thematic lines between the Great Depression and the Great Recession.”

    Gatsby was published in ’25, four years before the Depression, dummy.

    What’s truly amazing is that there’s so much focus on the money that no one bothered to mention the reason for the money–impressing Daisy. It’s the same reason knights went off on grand adventures–to impress married women enough to leave their husbands (parting the single ladies from their undergarments was no problem at all). It’s all about the girl, but even the actress playing her thinks she’s just another self-absorbed LA bimbo.

    Why bother?

  20. scooterzz says:

    in the film, the reason for gatsby’s obsession with accumulating wealth and position is made abundantly clear…and the addition of ‘the great’ to the title of nick carroway’s book (titled simply ‘gatsby’) is imo a sign of his slavish devotion…
    fwiw, i really enjoyed the film (certainly more than any previous version) and to my surprise didn’t find either the period or contemporary music a distraction….it’s a really beautiful movie….

  21. SamLowry says:

    Glad to hear that, Scooterzz. What bothers me, though, are all the folks who think Gatsby is nothing but money and power and hey, let’s make an all-black version with Jay-Z playing Gatsby!

    Did someone prank them and send them a copy of SCARFACE in a “Gatsby” DVD case?

    Really, what rapper would be willing to play a man who fights his way to the top, breaking the law six times before breakfast every day, for years, to finally surround himself with all the trappings of wealth…to impress a woman? Y’know, the subhuman beings they constantly dismiss as “bitches” and “hos”? A Fleshlight with a pulse? Easily replaceable arm candy?

    So Jay-Z meets this girl when he’s a callow young man, and though they had some fun she blows him off when a man with real money comes along, so he becomes the Godfather, lets her drive his car, she runs over someone, but since he’s a gentleman he takes the rap and gets shot for it, The End.

    Just to make it interesting, why not make Gatsby a gay man instead, trying to lure “Donald” away from his gay marriage? Or maybe Donald is still in the closet and his wife doesn’t know about the fling he once had with Jay–it’s a comedy!

    Or you could turn Jay into Jaye–a woman!–trying to lure Donald away from his wife…but there’s no tension because you know Donald would do it, in a heartbeat. Better yet, turn Donald back into Daisy and now you have two lesbians. This could work! Daisy is torn between Jaye and the man she married–which would bring in the female audience–then toss in some Skinemax action and you’ve got the men and the boys lined up out to the parking lot.

    I smell a hit!

  22. scooterzz says:

    i’m not sure there isn’t already a slightly homoerotic bent to the film (at least in the gatsby/carraway relationship)…. gatsby is obviously straight but he knows how to play carraway and carraway’s fawning/mooning devotion to gatsby seems to exceed ‘bromance’ limits…. and i may be going a step too far but it’s not inconceivable that his MOVIE SPOILER:

    landing in a private sanitarium is due more to the loss of his ‘friend’ than the diagnosed ‘depression’ and ‘morbid alcoholism’ described in the film.

    so, maybe you’re not so far off…..

  23. YancySkancy says:

    Sam’s lesbian reworking of the story made me realize that we’ll probably be getting a porn version called “The Great Gashby.”

  24. SamLowry says:

    Can’t be worse than TITSTANIC or POKE ME, MON!

  25. SamLowry says:

    And it must be Saul Bass’s birthday, because I’m still sitting through the Google doodle and it’s amazing.

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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