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By David Poland

BYOB – May The 16th Be With You


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45 Responses to “BYOB – May The 16th Be With You”

  1. Mike says:

    I know I’m late to the party (if there ever was one), but finally saw The Counselor. What a wasted opportunity. Did everyone making that movie decide McCarthy was too talented to take notes?

    I read one review that says the script probably reads better than hearing it spoken, which is probably true.

  2. Breedlove says:

    I’m attempting to get through the first season of Orange Is The New Black for the second time. Still don’t understand what all the hype was about. Why’d everyone flip out over this? Not that good. Kinda boring. Acting is noticeably mediocre, as it often is in tv.

  3. Dr Wally Rises says:

    The extended Blu Ray cut of The Counselor is a massive improvement on the theatrical release. Like Kingdom of Heaven and Blade Runner before it, it’s a Ridley Scott film that was compromised in it’s original form only to be better appreciated when you see the full vision.

  4. Stella's Boy says:

    I really like The Counselor. It’s weird and nasty and has a stellar cast. It’s compelling from start to finish.

    I don’t know what shows you watch, but the acting I see on TV is noticeably amazing. Billy Bob Thornton and Allison Tolman are superb on Fargo. Matthew Rhys, Keri Russell, Noah Emmerich, and Annet Mahendru are killing it on The Americans. The Veep and Silicon Valley ensembles are flippin’ hysterical. Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen are outstanding on Hannibal. The amount of amazing acting on TV right now is ridiculous.

  5. Smith says:

    I usually am pretty good about not buying into hype emerging from the fanboy segment of the web, but I let my guard down on Godzilla. Oof, what a disappointment. The climactic monster throwdown is fun enough, but you have to sit through 90+ minutes of terrible, terrible screenwriting and acting to get there. Edwards had the right idea, withholding Godzilla, letting anticipation build, but there are absolutely NO compelling human characters to carry the action until that big showdown. Made me resent his otherwise fun appropriation of Spielbergian set piece moments throughout the film – Spielberg, whatever his shortcomings, would’ve made sure *something* interesting happened when the monsters weren’t on screen.

  6. Ray Pride says:

    Mike, did you see the extended COUNSELOR or the theatrical cut? The extended one is the only one to see.

  7. leahnz says:

    hey the counselor (i saw the long cut on dvd) would have been great if it had dropped the ‘o-u-n-s-e-l-o-r’ part and replaced it with ‘h-e-e-t-a-h-s’, the only tolerable part of that insipid self-serious fuckarow, those cats were fucking awesome and should have been the whole movie – the humans as seen through the eyes of the amazing cheetahs.
    the humans themselves were a bunch of annoying, pontificating morons and buffoons, mooning dolts, insipid faux philosophers and one-note clichés and frankly, —- SPOILERS ——– i couldn’t wait for them all to die (that the angsty-idiot titular character was somehow still alive at the end was so hilariously inane, it’s a ‘so bad it’s good’ comedy moment). i could see the movie being the type that comes on cable and being compulsively watchable in the ‘i mock you and laugh in your ridiculous pontificating direction’ type of way. the only moment i felt anything resembling an emotion during the story is when cruella de vil mentions at the end that one of the cheetahs had died (i’m pretty sure that’s what she said, though i admit i was struggling to stay awake by that point) and i was genuinely bummed out.

  8. amblinman says:

    Couldn’t agree with Smith more on Godzilla. I can’t imagine that this movie isn’t going to annoy the shit out of most moviegoers. The cutaways just before something happens between Godzilla and the MUTO’s became so tiresome that by the time they actually fight no one gives a shit. Edwards absolutely did have the right idea, but the execution was lacking. A big problem is that Aaron Taylor Johnson is absolutely one giant hole in the center of the film. Yes, the script isn’t great but he has…negative screen charisma. Was I imagining liking this guy in Kick-Ass?

    Of course, as usual with these movies, maybe they wouldn’t have to work so hard to keep the monsters apart until the end if the movie weren’t OVER TWO FUCKING HOURS LONG. This film at 90 minutes probably works much differently.

  9. Hcat says:

    Couldn’t get very far in orange, new arrested delopment, or house of cards ( which is dynasty level drama). Netflix originals on a whole have been very disappointing.

    Am in the middle of the first season of Hannibal now and am digging it but still feeling restless that I am likely going to have to sit through at least twenty more hours until he is caught. These prologue shows seem a little silly to me, Bates Motel takes about three minutes of exposition from the old lady in psycho and is stretching it out into multiple seasons of television.

  10. EtGuild2 says:

    Loved the long cut of “Counselor.” God forbid there’s a gabfest philo-humor movie about sinister rich people. It practically sends the long knives bursting from the chests of anti-Hollywood types. By far the most interesting work since “American Gangster” from the most overrated Hollywood director in modern cinema.

    I loved OITNB. A lot of people can’t take the shifting tones. I’ve never seen as much vitriol for a premium show than was poured over “Weeds.” People have their tastes…”The Black List,” “Homeland,” “Hannibal.” When a television show DARES to feature modulating tones from people of different backgrounds, like say, real life, the haters shall congregate and level charges of gimmickry.

  11. leahnz says:

    ‘anti-Hollywood types’? (er, how ’bout people who just have a low threshold for insufferable twats and imbeciles who just won’t shut the fuck up? haha)

  12. Mike says:

    I found a lot to like in The Counselor (only saw the theatrical – when I’m feeling generous, I’ll try again on the extended cut), but the parts didn’t seem to add up to a very compelling whole.

    1) None of the main characters take any action whatsoever. We’re told that the Counselor has agreed to a deal, but we don’t know why, we don’t know how, and we certainly don’t know what he did. From there we know exactly what is going to happen to all four of the major characters.

    2) There are no characters. We know nothing about any of these people. Where did they come from? Why did they get into the drug business? Why do we care that they like women? Why must the women be either cartoonishly good/innocent or evil/cold? I’m not asking for likable characters, I’m asking for any characters.

    3) I know it’s meant to be ironic, but the counselor never counsels anyone, and never takes anyone else’s counsel. We never see him do any lawyer work at all. We only know he’s a lawyer because they say “counselor” every two minutes.

    4) The dialogue says quite a bit, but is SO unnatural. When EVERYONE talks in philosophy, you stop seeing them as real people, and only as obvious tools for the writer.

    5) How does any of it add up: Was Ruth/her son just a coincidence? Why did they need the little device to start a truck?

    I certainly didn’t hate it, but it could have been/should have been a LOT better.

  13. leahnz says:

    mike, i’m online atm doing some research on puffer fish toxin so in case no-one else responds to your list, i can answer a few of those (i know i’ve given the movie a very hard time so i’ll resist the urge to snark as much as it might kill me, within reason):

    1) the counselor sets up the deal because he’s gotten himself into a spot of financial bother and he’s desperate for some ‘easy’ cash (and presumably through his lawyering he somehow knows Reiner, who’s in ‘the business’ and helps broker the deal)

    3) people almost without exception get into the drug running business for the $$$ (the women in the story are cartoon innocents or evil vixens because…’madonna/whore’, you know, science…i mean, religion… i mean, stoopid)

    5) i’m pretty sure ruth was one the councelor’s clients (he did a swell job keeping her out of the big house…not), and the thing with her son was a bit of a koinkidink that presents itself at a serendipitous time, the son got into trouble with the law going like 300 mph in his bitchin’ car so the councelor agrees ro get him out of jail in exchange for his services as his drug courier (much to his head’s chagrin). i’m drawing a blank on the truck thing, when was that again? anyway

  14. Martin says:

    The problem isn’t the cutaways, it’s that they spend way more time on the Muto’s than Godzilla. And they’re no interesting cause the design is bland.

  15. Hcat says:

    First, has any director had as many directors cuts as Scott? And it’s not during his exile period, there’s no white squall cut (though that may imply that like black rain, it’s as perfect that it could be). The guy produces the goddamn things, why does his vision never make it to theaters?

    And I agree the HUGE flaws in it are you never know what his role is, and the downfall is immediate, his fortune seems to turn in the time if takes to play a hand of blackjack. I did however love Diaz little lunch in the end about how we celebrate a type of beauty in the darwinistic hunting of the cheetahs, while her same behavior as a human is sociopathic.

  16. christian says:

    The Scott film that never required any director’s cuts is ALIEN.

  17. leahnz says:

    and yet inexplicably there is an extended cut of ‘alien’ (with rips finding brett encased in the alien’s goop-web, etc)…
    for me the scott film that’s perfect and don’t need (nor does it have) no stinkin’ extendo-cuts is ‘thelma & louise’ — i so miss that Ridley, he kind of resurrected that thing he does best with the unexpectedly delightful ‘matchstick men’, but then sunk back into his ill-advised heavy-handed ‘epic’ bombast for some reason, i don’t understand it. i think i’ve given up on him, it’s a terrible thing to feel and admit, because his films were such an influence in my youth

  18. Triple Option says:

    I saw The Counselor and I tell you I have a hard time believing the only way to improve on that viewing would be to see MOAR of it.

  19. Dr Wally Rises says:

    I wouldn’t be so quick to put down Ridley Scott’s more recent output personally. I was one of the few to enjoy A Good Year, which holds up better than it’s reputation. It just needed an actor with a lighter touch than Russell Crowe (Clooney maybe, or Robert Downey Jr). Body of Lies is decent up until a stock third act that devolves into the standard hostage-exchange, race against time proceedings we’ve seen too many times before. Robin Hood is flawed but still has it’s moments – and Oscar Isaac just owns that movie. And again, the extended Counselor is worth a reappraisal.

  20. EtGuild2 says:

    “anti-Hollywood types’? (er, how ’bout people who just have a low threshold for insufferable twats and imbeciles who just won’t shut the fuck up? haha)”

    leah, I didn’t mean you. Non-professional reviews of “The Counselor” have to be among the funniest reactions to a movie I’ve ever read, however. You have 2,000 word screeds regarding how “The Couselor” is proof of the decline of Western Civilization (one hilariously written by a guy who admitted he walked out after 10 minutes on Metacritic), how it’s “pornography for rich liberals because they don’t like sex,” that it’s definitive proof that authors can never write screenplays, how Cameron Diaz is a shameful slut and why she’s what’s wrong with America, etc.

    It’s all very reminiscent of another Brad Pitt feature, “Killing Them Softly.” I’m surprised “World War Z” was such a draw after the virtual lynch mobs which assembled in reaction to that Dominik pic.

  21. smith says:

    Amblinman – Taylor-Johnson is remarkably bad. I liked him in kickass, nowhere boy and anna karenina but something went badly awry here. It’s not just bad material.

    Et- not enough people saw kts for it to damage pitt’s brand.

  22. PcChongor says:

    With all the Cannes news finally starting to reach its apex, does anyone have an update on those jewel thieves from last year? That seemed to be a huge story that just sort of got swept underneath the rug.

  23. movieman says:

    I’m a Taylor-Johnson fan, and have really admired his chameleon-like ability to transform himself in seemingly every role. (It’s a skill that both Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman have forged their careers on.)
    But I really think his inability to do anything remotely interesting in “Godzilla 2014” is the script.
    Like his illustrious costars, he has absolutely NOTHING whatsoever to play.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, I am a bit surprised by all the Aaron Taylor-Johnson hate, here and elsewhere. Maybe it’s because I deal with so many young vets as students, but I found his performance to be pretty much spot-on. Come to think of it, I had no trouble buying Elizabeth Olsen, either.

  25. Pete B. says:

    To make a Godzilla movie you need a big angry lizard bent on destroying everything in its path.

    The 2014 version lacks that. Even the MUTOs path of destruction is more from being big and clumsy than wanton carnage. What a disappointment.

    And there was no Blue Oyster Cult.

  26. movieman says:

    If I wasn’t clear: I meant to say that I blame the script for Taylor-Johnson’s (or anyone else’s) inability to make anything interesting out of his (their) part.
    I can’t imagine anyone hating on him (or Cranston, or Olsen for that matter) for their “Godzilla” work.
    It’s awfully hard to make something interesting out of nothing. And as far as characterization goes, the “‘zilla” script was tissue thin.
    It sounds as if fanboys (and whoever else is spreading hatred) are possibly using the actors as punching bags to express their disappointment with the movie.

  27. chris says:

    An actor with personality can make something out of nothing and, while it’s true that Taylor-Johnson doesn’t have great material in “Godzilla,” it also seems like whatever charisma he may once have had has been surgically removed.

  28. EtGuild2 says:

    That must be why Joss Whedon approached him to play Quicksilver in AVENGERS 2. Whedon’s disdain for actors with any trace of charisma is well known.

  29. Amblinman says:


    Cranston and Olsen are still watchable, even “good” in the film (as good as anyone can be with that script). They’re watchable and hold your attention while on screen. Johnson is terrible. A blank. Complete zero with nothing to add. And his voice…he sounds like an annoyed Brooklyn teenager.

  30. lazarus says:

    ” By far the most interesting work since “American Gangster” from the most overrated Hollywood director in modern cinema.”

    American Gangster was a huge waste of talent, and I’d hardly call it interesting. Would rather have read the article it was based on. Can’t believe a film with Denzel and Crowe was that boring and unoriginal.

    But I’ll certainly agree with the second part of your statement. He continues to get big budgets and top talent despite having so many misfires and so few great films. I wish we lived in an alternate universe where Peter Weir or Terry Gilliam got the same opportunities, to name two of his contemporaries.

    This is coming from someone who mostly enjoyed Prometheus (though there were plenty of boneheaded choices by Scott), loves the director’s cut of Kingdom Of Heaven, and thought The Counselor was a decent way to pass a couple hours but nothing special.

  31. Smith says:

    I’m a Taylor-Johnson fan, too, but he’s lousy in Godzilla. I don’t know if that’s him not being able to transcend weak material, a level of verisimilitude (as Joe suggests) that doesn’t play well in such a cartoonish context, bad direction or a combination of the three. I just know that he seems singularly ill equipped – or maybe just unwilling – to carry the human side of the story, and it is a pretty crippling flaw in the film.

    He’s not the only one who’s bad. Cranston, for lack of any better options, overacts every single line he’s given. Strathairn, another usually reliable actor, looks half asleep throughout.

    The only performers who acquit themselves well are Binoche and Olsen, and they both have such small, token parts that it hardly matters.

    I agree that the problem is largely the script, but good actors can find *something* to do even with bad material, usually, especially actors this good.

    So maybe the actual fault lies at Edwards’ feet. Whatever he was doing, it did nothing to inspire good – or even interesting – work from virtually anyone except the special effects team.

    But whatever – WB is going to get their $100m opening weekend and none of our complaints matter worth a damn to their bottom line.

  32. King David III says:

    I posted this before under Princess Grace- “This is just more Poland. Readership dwindling he tries to be contrary. The toilet still flushes”

    All the way from his busy Cannes schedule he censored me. It has been over a year since I tried. Just wanted to make sure he was still a douche. He is.

  33. EtGuild2 says:

    Good grief–first of all, Edwards didn’t write the script. WB took a chance on a micro-budget director and gave him $165m+ and he delivered the best Western Gojira adaptation in a half century.

  34. leahnz says:

    “leah, I didn’t mean you. Non-professional reviews of “The Counselor” have to be among the funniest reactions to a movie I’ve ever read, however. You have 2,000 word screeds regarding how “The Couselor” is proof of the decline of Western Civilization (one hilariously written by a guy who admitted he walked out after 10 minutes on Metacritic), how it’s “pornography for rich liberals because they don’t like sex,” that it’s definitive proof that authors can never write screenplays, how Cameron Diaz is a shameful slut and why she’s what’s wrong with America, etc.”

    fwiw i didn’t think you were referring to me EtG, i just wasn’t sure what you meant by ‘anti-Hollywood types’, now i get it (and what the actual fuck, seriously? haha these people sound mentally unbalanced, makes me glad i don’t read many internet reviews, my faith in humanity would probably take a bit hit – maybe sometimes ignorance really is bliss

    (from the ‘extraordinarily dumb shit’ in THE COUNCELOR files, two words for the jaded brad pitt character on the run from the cartel: WIRE CUTTER. tiny tool, fits conveniently in your pocket, bob’s yer uncle)

  35. Joe Leydon says:

    I think Godzilla is very much in the style of Edwards’ Monsters. And I’ll go one step further: It is an altogether worthy addition to the Godzilla mythos.

  36. Smith says:

    Et – I know he didn’t write the script. I was speculating about his role as a director in shaping the performances in his film.

    As for Edwards accomplishment, the monster stuff is outstanding, and he deserves credit for that. This is going to be a huge hit, the world is now his oyster, and I’m happy for him. Best western Gojira movie in 50 years? Sure. That’s not a high bar to set – at all – but he vaults over it easily.

  37. David Poland says:

    Hi Don –

    Just seeing this. Thanks for staying stupid and assuming everyone else lives by your standards.

    I apologize in advance for thinking my own thoughts and not going along with the pack. It’s funny, because all of your notable successes required you to think outside of the conventional wisdom of those moments. But comfort has a way of making sneering Republicans of us all.

    Enjoy reading those trades. You’ll never be disappointed.

  38. King David III says:

    I am not now and have not ever been a member of the Republican party. I continue to think outside of the pack. I do not wish cancer on people’s wives. These are not things you can state with truthfulness.
    I am not sure what the trades have to do with anything, except people DO read them regularly, something you cannot state with truthfulness either. If I am stupid and you are smart I will stay stupid till I die. You are and shall always be a douche.

  39. amblinman says:

    Godzilla isn’t a *bad* movie, not by a long shot. It’s just not structured well. I think my biggest gripe is that Edwards really should have kept the monsters away from each other until the climax. He had enough cool set pieces to propel the movie (perhaps one very cool Godzilla vs the army sequence was in order to quench that particular thirst). The cutaways just before a fight felt too gimmicky. As a few people online have pointed out, the buildup to the big fight felt a little flat because they’ve been fighting for the whole movie, we just didn’t get to see most of it.

    Also, someone earlier brought up something that I think is a very good point – the MUTO’s are too sympathetic. These things do play better when the monsters are treated closer to animals than not, but the scales were tipped a bit too much in the favor of “momma protecting her babies.” I almost felt sympathy for the female muto when she sees her eggs engulfed in flames.

    I’m rooting for the movie to do extraordinarily well if for no other reason than I’d love for Edwards to get more blockbusters because I love his style.

  40. EtGuild2 says:

    “Et – I know he didn’t write the script. I was speculating about his role as a director in shaping the performances in his film.”

    I get that, I’m just somewhat annoyed at the vitriol leveled at Edwards online by people who didn’t care for the movie. Yes, Taylor-Johnson doesn’t give the best performance. But Edwards did pull off a pretty good Gojira movie–and he did it by being asked to fly a fighter plane when his only previous experience was riding a tricycle.

    Are some directors naturals, and can slide into a 9 figure budget after a 6 figure one? Sure…James Gunn looks like he might be the prime example of this…but the ongoing speculation of Edwards’ lack of character oversight, when “Monsters” was criticized for the exact opposite reason, (not enough, you know, Monsters and action) seems harsh.

  41. Hallick says:

    “That must be why Joss Whedon approached him to play Quicksilver in AVENGERS 2. Whedon’s disdain for actors with any trace of charisma is well known.”

    I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic here or not. For every Eliza Dushku he’s ever hired I can spot you a Nathan Fillion or a James Marsters or an Andy Hallett or a Jeremy Renner (plus god knows how many great character actors on his shows). Okay sure, Renner didn’t show any charisma in The Avengers, but you can’t say he didn’t hire the guy without a history of charisma in other films.

  42. David Poland says:

    Don – Your delusion that I have ever wished cancer on anyone, much less your wife, is sad and unfortunate. You have wasted too much time on something that never happened.

    You wouldn’t know “truth” if it tattooed itself to your forehead.

    Enjoy your life.

  43. EtGuild2 says:

    Yes, Hallick, that was sarcasm.

  44. chris says:

    In Hallick’s defense, EtGuild2, it is a little tricky to interpret the sarcasm in a post in which you were apparently suggested that, throughout his career, Whedon’s casting has never missed the mark.

  45. storymark says:

    “and yet inexplicably there is an extended cut of ‘alien’”

    Is something really “inexplicable” when it starts off with a message from Scott explicitly stating why it exists (for marketing)?

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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?”

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