Film Archive for October, 2008

Femme Film Watch: How Much Blood Will Twilight Draw at the Box Office?

Fandango’s surveys don’t always interest me, but this one does:
According to a current Fandango survey of more than 5,000 moviegoers interested in buying Twilight tickets:
* 92% of respondents say they’ll see Twilight on opening weekend;
* 85% say they plan to see the film more than once;
* 56% are planning to see the movie with a group of friends;
* 97% have read the novel by Stephenie Meyer;
* 86% would be interested in visiting the locations where the movie was filmed;
* 95% of the respondents to the survey are female;
* 42% of respondents are 25 or older; 58% are younger than 25.
This survey follows up on a previous Fandango survey back in August on the most anticipated fall films:
— Fall 2008’s Most Anticipated Movie (ranking all films from Sept.-Dec.): Twilight (34%), followed by Quantum of Solace (19%).
— Sept. 2008’s Most Anticipated: Burn After Reading (18%), followed by The Women (14%).
— Oct. 2008: Body of Lies (13%), followed by High School Musical 3: Senior Year (11%).
— Nov. 2008: Twilight (31%), followed by the James Bond adventure, Quantum of Solace (20%).
— Dec. 2008: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (16%), followed by The Day the Earth Stood Still (15%).
Okay, it’s moderately interesting to me that Twilight has a higher anticipation rating than the Bond flick (at least, according to this survey), but what’s particularly interesting are those last two stats of the survey up on top: the heavy weighting of the female demographic, and the last numbers, which show 42% of the respondents in the 25 or older age group.

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What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate …

It’s a bad time to be a part of the print media industry. As exemplified by Ray Pride’s “pink slip Tuesday” pile of layoff headlines, businesses that built their bank on print are feeling the impact of the digital age, and it’s not a pretty sight. What’s particularly unfortunate about this is that people are losing their jobs, in large part, because of the failure of the management at the top of the print media food chain to grasp the powerful impact the digital evolution was going to have on their businesses.
Clearly, many people at the top of print publications missed the memo about the changes in consumer habits the internet and all things digital would bring — or they got the memo and tossed it in the circular file, believing that if they buried their heads in the corporate sand long enough, the change they so feared might just pass them by.

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Box Office: We're All in this Together

Although the weekend take was a bit lower than some were predicting (and there was a surprising Saturday drop-off), the folks over at Disney still have to be happy with the opening-weekend box office for the theatrical debut of the third film in its tween-and-teen-targeted High School Musical franchise. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (thankfully re-named from the once-tossed-about title of High School Musical 3: Gradu-Dancin‘) pulled in its target demographic to the tune of $42.3 million.
I have to think the marketing team at Summit is happy with those numbers as well, given they’ll be targeting a similar market with the November 21 release of Twilight, the first adaptation from Stephenie Meyer‘s mega-popular vampire-teen-love series. Twilight has the advantage of potentially pulling big numbers from both the tween-teen set and the series’ huge fanbase in the female 25+ demographic. Assuming Twilight is able to draw in High School Musical-level numbers from the tweens and teens who are obsessed with all-things-Twilight, that, combined with the older female fanbase, could very easily see the film kick off with a $50 million-plus opening weekend, and we could see Twilight‘s numbers end up even higher if the fans come out in the droves Summit expects.
Of course, opening weekend aside, the bigger test for Twilight will be the fans’ perception of how well director Catherine Hardwicke does at adapting their beloved book for the big screen. Twilight fans seem to have a sense of personal investment in the characters and series not unlike fans of the Harry Potter franchise; if Hardwicke adapts the book for the screen in a way that meets or exceeds their expectations, I’d look for solid word-of-mouth and repeat viewings to give the film legs and drive up the overall gross to well over $100 million. If not, though, they will defect in droves, putting future adaptations of the remaining three books in the series in question.
I live with a highly-obsessed tween Twilight fanatic; I’ll be reading the barometer of my daughter and her pack of equally obsessed friends as an indicator of how well the film measures up. Meanwhile, it’s going to be interesting to see how much High School Musical 3 pulls in over the next few weeks. I hope the folks at Disney have plans to release the DVD of HSM 3 in time for Christmas, because it’s already on the top of my daughter’s Christmas list; getting it out in time for the holidays would guarantee many sales to parents looking for the perfect DVD stocking stuffer for their tween and teen Wildcats fans. In the meantime, parents can sate their kids’ passion for HSM with the soundtrack CD and novelizations, which, naturally, are available now.


Femme Films of the Week — 10/24/2008

Femme Films of the Week — It’s a good week for femme films, with three solid female-led films in theaters now on my “recommended” list, and several other offerings you might find worth catching.

Happy-Go-Lucky**** — Mike Leigh’s latest film, starring Sally Hawkins in an effervescent performance as a charming, bubbly schoolteacher whose upbeat world view is challenged by her relationship with a surly driving instructor (Eddie Marsan). Standout performances by both Hawkins and Marsan make this immensely enjoyable film one to catch.
I’ve Loved You So Long **** 1/2 — Pay no attention to anyone who tells you this film is over-rated. This is, quite simply, one of the best films of the year, with powerhouse turns by both Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein as sisters reunited after the older (Thomas) is released from prison after a lengthy sentence. Scott Thomas will haunt you long after the closing credits roll.
Rachel Getting Married **** — Another film about sisters, this own starring Anne Hathaway, cast way against type as a drug addicted, perpetual screw-up released from rehab to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie Dewitt) wedding, stirring up a boiling cauldron of unresolved familial conflict, grief and resentment. Screenwriter Jenny Lumet’s script is raw, honest, and deeply stirring, and Hathaway, far removed from her Princess Diaries days, is a revelation, as is Rosemarie Dewitt. Must see.
Also playing:
The Secret Life of Bees**
Nights at Rodanthe
The Duchess*
The Women
Trouble the Water ***
The Longshots
Mamma Mia!
High School Musical 3 ** 1/2
And also … while I wouldn’t recommend this film to an adult cinephile looking for a great film this weekend, if you have a tween or teen girl in your life, I highly recommend taking them to see High School Musical 3, for its positive portrayal of smart girls heading toward college and the future, and for its unusual (for Hollywood) showcasing of girls who don’t look like anorexic models in prominent roles, singing, dancing and looking good.

Note: films with no stars are those that I have NOT seen and therefore have no recommendation one way or the other.


I just watched Michael Jackson’s Thriller with my kids tonight and was struck by how well it’s held up for me since I first saw it when I was a teenager. And then I started wondering … how many movies that I’ve seen in, say, the last couple years, would hold up so well after so long?
The Lives of Others, Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men, Juno, The Proposition, Little Children, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Away from Her … I’m sure there are others, but off the top of my head, these are a few that (I think) will still play as well for me 20 years hence. Which films of the last few years really stand out for you?


Review: High School Musical 3

Directed by Kenny Ortega

For what it is, High School Musical 3, the first theatrical release of the highly successful Disney TV movie franchise, isn’t all that bad. It’s not going to win any Oscars, but then again, that’s not what director Kenny Ortega was reaching for. He’s aiming squarely at the pre-teens and teens who watched the first two High School Musical movies in droves — and bought the CD, and the DVDs, and the posters, and the comforter set, and the Zac Efron pillow to practice kissing at night.

For what he’s aiming at, Ortega squarely hits the mark, but I don’t know that it needed to be seen on a big screen, necessarily. To be honest, my daughter probably had more fun overall last year attending a High School Musical 2 party at a friend’s house with a gaggle of tween girls, where they dressed in High School Musical attire, decorated the house like East High School, made “Go Wildcats!” posters, and ate enough snacks to finance a political campaign
— but she still had a rollicking good time at the latest installment.

The film opens, predictably enough, on a basketball game, and it sets the tone early for something new to the franchise — explicit fantasy sequences. No, not that kind of fantasy, it’s a family film. But the opener starts out feeling like you’re watching hero Troy Bolton (the charming Efron) in the midst of a nightmare about losing a basketball game. The dream segues into a real basketball game which Bolton’s team, the Wildcats — the reigning champions – are inexplicably. But, not to worry, kids, a musical sequence is going to come along to save the day!

And it does, in a rocking, creatively choreographed opener (you just have to put aside your disbelief at Troy inexplicably breaking into song in the middle of driving the ball down the court) that’s almost, but not quite worthy of the catchiest number in the first film, “We’re All in This Together.”

Yes, the plot is largely predictable and formulaic — but then, the same could be said for most books targeted at this demographic. Popular basketball captain Troy and his sweetheart, brainy songbird Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), are enjoying their senior year at East High, the most utopian high school ever conceived for a film. A brief foray into High School Musical history: At the start of the gang’s junior year, Gabriella moved to Albuquerque and East High, and turned the school upside-down by daring to show the world a smart girl can do more than one thing.

She took on the school’s reigning drama queen, Sharpay Evans (Ashley Tisdale), who, along with twin brother Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), had ruled every school production since kindergarten — and she took Troy, the biggest jock in school, along for the ride. Troy suddenly came to realize his long-buried love for musical dance numbers, and two new stars were born.

The entire theme of the first film was built around the unifying idea of a school where all the kids suddenly realized, “Hey, I don’t have to box myself into a group! I can enjoy and be good at more than one thing!” And much mayhem ensued as jocks and science geeks took up drama and the culinary arts, drama dorks deigned to speak to jocks, a smart, heavy-set girl let loose with her inner hip-hop groove, and so on. But by the end, everyone was dancing together and the cliques were broken down, and all was well.

The second movie, which takes place in the summer between junior and senior year, built on that theme, but it was pretty meh, and not much happened that’s relevant to the third film, so we’ll move on.

Now it’s senior year, and thanks to Gabriella the school is unified as no high school has ever been unified before. There are no dorks, cliques or outcasts at East High, everyone is friends with everyone else. Groovy idea, if not overly realistic, but if you can accept that premise, you’ll make it through the film. If not, well, you’ll spend roughly 90 minutes gritting your teeth, groaning in consternation, and experiencing uncomfortable flashbacks to your own high school days that will have you muttering, “Hah! That would never happen!” every two minutes or so.

One thing the third film does better than the first two is that it uses some interesting fantasy sequences and creative segues to make at least some of the many song-and-dance numbers in the film flow better. This is enabled, in part, by one of the film’s key plot points: All the seniors (and some of the younger kids as well) are involved in staging a big, end-of-year musical called “Senior Year,” in which they are performing a play about … themselves.

There’s a musical number where the kids are singing about their upcoming prom, which you think at first is a fantasy sequence, but then it turns out it was a dress rehearsal for a scene in the play. There’s also a pretty cute (and very creatively choreographed) number in which Troy and best friend Chad (Corbin Bleu) sing and dance through a salvage yard where they played when they were kids, reliving the freedom of childhood and imagination. There are some
cheesy props and special effects (I rather think they were intended to play that way), but the scene overall is cute.

Less successful is a rather painful number featuring Sharpay persuading her brother to dream big with her; this song went on way too long, the choreography was awkward, and the song musically was rather banal, even for a musical aimed at teens. Another problematic number is a solo for Efron in the third act, when he’s agonizing over what decision to make about college. This song was just painfully cringe-worthy in every respect, and Ortega makes it worse by smacking us around metaphorically with lots of stormy weather and crashes of lightning to make sure we get that Troy’s in a dark mood.

Of course, we have several heartfelt, pining duets between Troy and Gabriella — one of them is even a waltz in the rain, in a rooftop garden. The duets get a little wearing after a while, and musically they all sound very much the same, with nearly identical use of harmony over and over again, but Efron and Hudgens do have an electric on-screen chemistry that works very well for making their relationship feel believable.

To up the ante and add some dramatic tension to the mix, drama teacher Mrs. Bolton (Leslie Wing) announces that representatives from Julliard will be attending the performance of the school musical to evaluate four of the seniors — composer Kelsey (Olesya Rulin), Sharpay, her brother Ryan, and Troy — for one full scholarship slot at the prestigious arts school. It’s a bit contrived, but it does serve nicely to pit brother and sister against each other, as Ryan starts to realize what a self-serving, spoiled diva his twin sister is (this arc started in the second film, and is brought to a nice conclusion in the third).Meanwhile, Sharpay’s about to get her comeuppance in the form of a Tiara Gold (Jemma McKenzie-Brown), a Brit-import personal assistant who may not be quite what she seems.

Where the theme of the first high school musical was coming together, the theme of the third is growing apart — or rather, growing up, and leaving behind childhood tree-houses, toy robots, games of pretend and superhero capes … and even best friends. Troy and Gabriella are struggling over college decisions that will put them many miles apart; Gabriella’s not sure if her mother’s dream of her attending Stanford is really her dream; Troy ponders whether he’ll go to the University of Albuquerque to please best mate Chad and his father, or follow his own path.

Efron (aside from the aforesaid solo-angst number, and that’s more the fault of the dreadful song than him) is quite good in the third film; he’s a talented performer with an on-screen warmth and charm that connects with his young female fans. He was better in Hairspray, but this is the best of his High School Musical performances.

Hudgens went through a rough spot over some racy photos earlier in the year, but she recovers nicely and retains that oh-so-innocent Gabriella glow. Tisdale, who was pretty good as Sharpay in the first film, seems to be pouring it on a bit thick at times, as if making up for Hudgens having more screen time by trying to be bigger and more impressive; it mostly makes her feel strident and annoying throughout this film.

Overall, though it’s often hopelessly clichéd and a lot of the songs are (to an adult, anyhow) terminally cheesy, High School Musical 3 is everything the
young fans of the series will absolutely love. From a parent’s perspective, although its view of high school life is idealized, the film has a lot of positive
messages for tweens and teens about resisting peer pressure, being true to yourself, and accepting others for who they are.

Ortega also gets major props for bumping up the role of Martha, played by KayCee Stroh. Stroh plays a heavier-set girl who loves to dance hip-hop; she was more of a background dancer in the first film; the second film saw her moving up the food chain, and this time around she’s billed with the other second-tier pals of the six leads. Stroh looks like she’s lost some weight since the first film, but it was very nice to see curvaceous Martha front and center as a cheerleader, and featured in several dance numbers, in spite of not looking like an anorexic supermodel wannabe. In fact, most of the girls cast as cheerleader-dancers looked muscular and healthy, which, as a mother of a pre-teen daughter, I was very glad to see.

The film winds up with a big graduation song-and-dance number that I wished would have flowed into a final round of “We’re All in This Together,” but I wouldn’t start worrying too much about this being the final film in the popular franchise. The plot sets the stage for the next generation of kids to step into the shoes of the graduating leads, and High School Musical 4 is tentatively listed on IMDB. Casting is rumored at this point, but a couple of the characters from HSM 3 had story lines that will flow along into the next year.

If the fourth film does get made, look for it to center around Jimmy Z (Matt Prokop), the zany kid who idolizes Troy and serves as his understudy for the school play (he has “Disney’s Next Flavor of the Month” written all over him), Donny (Justin Martin), Jimmy Z’s best bud, and Tiara Gold, the drama-queen-in-waiting who’s eager to step into Sharpay’s stiletto heeled boots.

You can bet that if High School Musical 3 does well at the box office with its target demographic, more Wildcat musical action will be coming your way; what remains to be seen is whether the tween attention span will hold for the franchise in the absence of its charismatic leads.

-Kim Voynar

Silver Lining

I mentioned a few days ago that I’d just finished reading The Road, and it’s depressing as hell. But the one good thing about a post-Apocalyptic world is that films like this would never, ever be made again.


Who Likes Horror Films?

Just in time for Halloween, Kathleen Murphy, writing for MSN Movies, has an excellent list of alternative horror fare. I’m not the biggest fan of horror flicks, but Murphy’s list has a couple of films I’ve seen and liked (The Descent, The Orphanage, Frailty) and a slew of horror flicks I’m interested in seeing (including Wendigo, The Wisdom of Crocodiles, Let the Right One In).
I’m not a fan of the slash-and-gore type of horror film, but I do like a good cerebral flick that has horror elements to it. But I’m not one of those who thinks that people who get off on horror are idiots, they just aren’t generally my thing, in the same way that the depressing Eastern Euro dramas I enjoy aren’t everyone’s cup o’ tea. In the interest of expanding the scope of my cinematic viewing taste, however, I am interested in watching more horror generally, so I’m open to recommendations from folks who are big horror buffs on which films I should see.
No recommendations for Last House on the Left, though, please … I’ve seen that one twice already and absolutely hate it.



I’m participating in a panel for Women in Film down in L.A. on November 2. The panel’s about women film journalists and bloggers, and one of the topics we will be covering is whether female film journos have an obligation to write positively about femme-helmed films, regardless of whether said films are good or bad. The argument, I guess, is that we women have to stick together, there aren’t as many women as there should be making films, and so, therefore, women who write about film should support their sisters behind the camera by writing good things about their efforts.
For me, this issue is a no-brainer. If I write positively about a film directed by a woman simply because it’s directed by a woman, without regard for whether it’s good or not, I’m not only being dishonest as a critic, but ghetto-izing women filmmakers in general, n’est-ce pas? If female journalists actually do this, are they not saying, in effect: It’s okay, female filmmakers, you don’t have to meet any actual standards of goodness; moreover, we don’t even have enough faith that you are capable of making good films to begin with, so we’re going to handicap you right out of the gate to give you a boost. Ugh.
What intelligent, driven female director would actually want that kind of faint praise?


Superbad: Glorifying Date Rape?

Over on Hollywood Elsewhere, there’s a truly fascinating discussion going on in the comments of Jeff Wells’ post labeling people who enjoy slash-and-gore horror films as morons. Wells writes about one horror flick I DO want very much to see, Swedish teen-vampire flick Let the Right One In, but that’s gotten largely lost in the discussion on the post, which somehow wends its way from whether horror fans are morons, to the merits of the Saw films, to defining torture porn to … Superbad really being about date rape?
Wait, Superbad‘s really about date rape? Really? Well, yes, according to commenter Hunter (who, actually, earlier in the discussion offered up the single most astute and compelling analysis of the first Saw film I’ve ever read), because the geeks in the film are on a quest to acquire alcohol so that, presumably, they can get the girls drunk enough to have sex with. Then someone else fired back that the whole thing is about the guys agreeing to get the girls beer so they can get into a party they would otherwise not be invited to, not about non-consensual sex. And so on. Now, I never got around to seeing Superbad, myself (I know, I know), but this is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone allege that Superbad is about date rape.
I found this whole discussion intriguing, but I hesitated about whether to write about it, because my views on the subject of date rape are complicated, in that it’s not a black and white issue for me. And I know, as a feminist, I’m not even supposed to say such a thing — the mantra is, no always means no, right? — but then my whole obsession for personal responsibility for one’s own actions rears its head. And to a certain extent, I see the argument about what is and is not “date rape” as, in and of itself, somewhat disempowering to women. Don’t start throwing things, yet, stay with me for a second.

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Femme Films of the Week

Femme film Picks of the Week:
Happy-Go-Lucky ****
Rachel Getting Married ****
And the rest …
The Secret Life of Bees **
Nights at Rodanthe
The Duchess *
The Women
The Family That Preys
Trouble the Water (limited)***
… I’ve not seen Nights at Rodanthe, The Women, or The Family that Preys, so no recommendations on those.


A Bumpy Road

Rumor has it, apparently, that John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which was supposed to open November 14, may get pushed off to 2009. Which would be a bummer, but to be honest, I’d rather see the film done well than rushed and done poorly. I finally got around to reading the book over this past weekend, and wow, is it good. Bleak and horribly depressing, and it makes me wonder what kinds of dark thoughts haunt McCarthy late at night when he’s caught in the throes of writerly insomnia in the clutches of what Michael Chabon called “the midnight disease” in Wonder Boys. It’s a stark and horrific read, but absolutely compelling; I couldn’t put it down all weekend.
One of the commenters over on Fataculture said of “The Road” that nothing happens in it. And much as people lashed out at him for saying something so banal, on a certain level, he’s right, in that it’s not the easiest concept to translate into the visual medium of a film. It’s a guy and his young son, in world that’s been post-Apocalyptic for several years, and McCarthy’s vision of this world is bleak in the extreme. The world burned pretty much to a crisp. Everything destroyed. Hardly any animals still alive. No food growing or able to grow, and the existing pre-disaster food supplies long since plundered. Everything covered in ash. Ash on the ground, in the air, in the rivers, in the snowfall. And a few human survivors struggling not to starve to death. The entire story is just this guy and his son and their occasional encounters with those who would hurt them.
Hillcoat directed The Proposition, one of the best films of 2005, and one of the very few Westerns I would willingly watch multiple times. The guy knows dramatic tension, so I would expect that the narrative storyline will be compressed with an emphasis on the dramatic high points, which is fine to keep the story flowing, but I really hope that he holds onto the use of symbolism that’s woven throughout the story, and keeps his focus on the relationship between the father and son. “They were each other’s world entire.” That’s what the story is about, this man and this boy and how their relationship with each other allows them to cling to hope even in the face of almost unimaginable destruction and infinitessimal odds of surviving. And if it takes until 2009 for Hillcoat to get it ride, it will be worth waiting for.
Oh, and side note for the music geeks: Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (not surprisingly, but I’m dorkily ecstatic about it) are doing the music. I would see this film even if I didn’t care about the story, just to hear that.

What's the Point of W?

Went to the screening of W last night, and I feel kinda “meh” about the film. Brolin does a nice enough Dubya impersonation, there’s nothing wrong with any of the acting, per se, but I walked away from it wondering what exactly Stone’s point was in making the film. There was a lot of grumbling amongst the Seattle crowd as folks were filing out of the theater about the film; it seemed a lot of folks came expecting to see an SNL-ish lampooning of Dubya, and while the film does have those moments (the best of which come straight out of the horse’s mouth, so to speak, as part of the massive public record of Dubya’s gaffs), its intent isn’t to satirize, or mock, I don’t think, so much as it is to explore the whys and wherefores of the political ambitions of a man whose driving ambition in earlier life seemed to not be much beyond living off Poppy’s money and drinking a lot.
Stone does delve into the father-son relationship between Bush Sr and Bush (just don’t call me Junior) Jr, and his rivalry with younger brother Jeb. Stone beats the “you’re a disappointment to me, son” drum rather heavily, and maybe Dubya’s relationship with dad really is the driving force behind his presidency. I mean, I’d honestly never considered that Bush Sr might be pissed about Dubya running for governor of Texas at the same time Jeb ran for governor of Florida, because it was taking the limelight from Jeb. Nor did I consider, really, that Bush might be upset about Dubya running for (and winning) the presidency, not because he didn’t want his son to surpass him, but because he didn’t want the disappointing brother to usurp the younger brother who he considered to have more promise.
Stone shows Bush largely as a puppet controlled by Rove and Cheney, but also as a man driven by his own ambition to one-up the old man, and I suppose you could argue that he didn’t really need to show what happened after Iraq because we all know what’s happened after Iraq. I just left the film feeling uncertain as to what exactly Stone was trying to say about this president. It’s not edgy enough to be a real critique of Iraq, not in the sense that No End in Sight was a critique of Iraq; it’s not enough of a skewering to satisfy the liberals who loathe Bush, nor illuminating enough in a positive way to satisfy the conservatives who still support him. What exactly was Stone’s point in making the film? I’m not sure I know.


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