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David Poland

By David Poland

Trailer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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29 Responses to “Trailer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

  1. Yancy says:

    They wanna just call this “MITTY” so bad! Don’t do it.

  2. Double D says:

    I’m in the “let’s wait and see camp.” Not dismissing it. I’d be interested in a movie that explores day-dreaming/fantasy with reality…just not sure I want to do that with Ben Stiller.

  3. Ray Pride says:

    Maybe this will be the movie to break the New Yorker film profile curse.

  4. Breedlove says:

    Haha. Ray, what other ones did you have in mind? Trying to think…Cloud Atlas…Frances Ha did alright no? What else?

  5. Jermsguy says:

    Well, this certainly seems like it has more on its mind than Zoolander. I’m encouraged.

  6. Ray Pride says:

    Guillermo del Toro while preparing AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. Andrew Stanton while prepping JOHN CARTER FROM MARS. Tony Gilroy… who else? Anna Faris… Some site made a longer list.

  7. Jack1137 says:

    The Director of Rushmore is rolling in his Grave.

  8. movieman says:

    I actually love this trailer.
    It did feel very Wes Anderson-ish to me–especially the deadpan absurdism.
    And the scene at the Inuit car rental place made me laugh out loud.
    I’d completely forgotten that Stiller directed this
    For some reason, I assumed it was probably some journeyman hack like Mark Waters or Adam Shankman.
    But Stiller comes w. Anderson bonafides (“Royal Tenenbaums”) so I’m cautiously optimistic he can pull it off.

  9. anghus says:

    Best trailer since Man of Steel.

  10. KrazyEyes says:

    I’ll guess I’ll wait and see but that trailer was so cloying I needed to rinse my mouth out afterwards.

  11. Smith says:

    Looks possibly interesting, or possibly terrible, but the Wes Anderson comparisons have to stop. This looks more Zach Braff or Jared Hess than Anderson.

  12. Chris says:

    Are we all just seeing what we want to see in the trailer? I thought it screamed Gondry.

  13. movieman says:

    I see the Gondry-esque touches, Chris.
    But the car rental scene I mentioned is pure Wes.

  14. anghus says:

    Yeah, i get irked when every anything quirky gets compared to Wes Anderson.

    Those sprawling shots of snow covered landscapes Youd never see that in an Anderson film. Or even the way certain scenes are staged. In the darkroom staring at the picture of Sean Penn that comes to life. Or the long run past the magazine covers. Or the high overhead shot of the characters coming off the escalator. You’d never see any composition like that in an Anderson film.

    Not a shot against Anderson. More of a criticism on bucketing everything to a ridiculous level of simplicity.

    Sure, that last scene had a Wes Anderson vibe. A few things felt very much like Gondry. Lots of different influences, which i believe is the sign of good filmmaking. Weaving together influences and such.

    But the knee jerk for something draped in flourishes getting a Wes Anderson call out feels like something i’d hear in a Freshman college class on filmmaking.

  15. Chris says:

    This trailer indeed screams both Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry.

    And that title. Dear God. Anyone remember how well people responded to The Odd Life of Timothy Green? Or The Life of David Gale? The Secret Life of Bees? Anyone? Hello?

  16. anghus says:

    “And that title. Dear God. Anyone remember how well people responded to The Odd Life of Timothy Green? Or The Life of David Gale? The Secret Life of Bees? Anyone? Hello?”

    Please tell me you’re aware that it’s based on a very popular short story that is one of the most anthologized works of short fiction.

    Because if you didn’t, that’s just too depressing for words.

  17. Bulldog68 says:

    But they did respond to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Forrest Gump, Talladega Nights:The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, and even Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Just sayin’.

  18. movieman says:

    Maybe Stiller is just trying to remain faithful to the (same-named) original.
    He’s probably a huge Danny Kaye fan.

  19. Breedlove says:

    It’s too depressing for words if someone doesn’t know that the film is based on a short story? That’s a ridiculous comment. It’s a famous short story, yes, but calm down. Plenty of people have never heard of it. You must get depressed easily.

  20. anghus says:

    “You must get depressed easily.”

    Well, there’s several layers of sadness there.

    That someone would say ‘that title is too damn long’ not realizing it’s based on a short story which had already been adapted to a movie. That makes me think this person has no idea this was adapted from a previous work.

    Its also depressing to an almost Idiocracy like level that someone would think that title is too long. Like everything has to be truncated to fit the depressing 140 character landscape. “Why do they have to call it The Lord of the Rings? Can’t they just call it RING LORDS? Or maybe just RINGS.”

    In my head i can see somebody like this sitting at a board room at any of the major studios like Peter Gallagher in The Player daunted by the idea that a movie title is just too damn long. Here’s some other suggestions for future potential literary adaptations.

    THE POSTMAN RINGS (which might confuse fans of RING LORDS)

    If any of them are made into musicals, you simply need to add an exclamation point to the end.

  21. Breedlove says:

    Ha ha I hear ya anghus. Solid rant.

  22. christian says:

    What was the best gag in THE TALL GUY?


  23. Sam says:

    anghus’ half-funny, half-depressing list isn’t that outrageous. We recently had the remakes “Mr. Deeds” and “Guess Who?”, didn’t we?

  24. Breedlove says:

    Actually, even better, I think it was just DEEDS.

  25. cadavra says:

    Hry, don’t forget POTTER!

  26. YancySkancy says:

    No, it was definitely MR. DEEDS.

    To me, the sad thing about Chris’s post is what I perceive to be its arrogance. Sure, young people may not know the Thurber story or the Danny Kaye version, but Chris seems to assume the new film is an original simply because he hasn’t heard the title before. I like to research a little before I start a rant, so I don’t embarrass myself unnecessarily. Of course, I may be reading too much into his very brief post. Maybe he knows it’s a classic title, but is simply saying it should be changed for marketing purposes.

  27. leahnz says:

    there are certainly some wes anderson-esque compositions in that trailer, that’s not ‘freshman college class’ ignorance: there are several notes of typical formal anderson symmetry, static camera/subjects, flourishes like the closet, cereal/glasses shot, the coat and suitcase, the casual chopper jump absurdism, the rental cars, maybe more if i watched it again (and also gondry whoever said that). i’m a massive wiig fan at this point, she’s killing it, i hope she keeps up her momentum

  28. leahnz says:

    also i thought chris’s post was more lamenting how poorly movies with titles that were some variation of ‘the ____ life of _______’ had done, not that he hadn’t heard of the source material before, just my interpretation

  29. movieman says:

    Not that this means anything (their last 2 selections, “Not Fade Away” and “My Week w/ Marilyn,” bombed), but “Mitty” was just selected as the centerpiece of this year’s NYFF.
    Those smart New York critics must really, really like it.

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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