20 Weeks

24 Weeks To Oscar….

Add, 10:30p Friday – Pushing out the column this week, I overlooked one title that I really do think is a serious contender for Best Picture now… and that is Inglourious Basterds (the chart has now been corrected). It is not the film I would normally expect to get in and I discounted the likelihood around release. But with Toronto flopping as an award parade, a quality movie-movie that many people really, really enjoy – not unlike The Departed – becomes more and more likely to make the cut.
I wish I could say Where The Wild Things Are is in that same position of potential, but while the film is gorgeous and powerfully built below the conscious surface, I suspect that a film that will be a classic in future will not be a film that plays strongly and clearly enough right now for the over-50 set. So, the film may turn out – like Antichrist and The White Ribbon – to be one of the films that sticks for the longest time from 2009, I don’t see Oscar written all over it.
What is clear is that there is plenty of room to fight for a slot at this point. Of my Top 12


20 Weeks – A First Look The Oscar Season To Come

35 Weeks To Go
The Next Oscars Will Be Rated X

Some will try to make it The Year of The Woman, with Nine leading the way for such hopefuls as Julie & Julia, Bright Star, Precious, An Education, Broken Embraces, the 2 SPC Coco Chanel movies, Amelia, Cheri, and even the female director of The Hurt Locker. And maybe they will have a point


Summer of Love

Why has the idea of doing my Summer Preview: 20 Weeks of Summer been like anticipating a trip to a dentist this year?
I guess it’s because so much of this upcoming summer is so not for me.
I mean, I am actually looking forward to Transformers 2. Not being irritated by it would be great, but should this really be the film I am excited about?
Terminator: Salvation? I hope so… but God, does McG’s name on it scare me.
I think Angels & Demons will be a lot better than the first of that series, but how excited can I get?
Up is certainly going to be very good, but Nemo, The Rat & The Wall will be hard to beat.
I would love to love The Girlfriend Experience, but everything about the movie screams ambivalence.
Land of The Lost and Year One? Surprise me please!
I am pretty sure I will get on board The Taking of Pelham 123. That could make a nice mid-summer adult pleasure.
The great two week span for me is likely to be Public Enemies and Bruno. It’s a big ball move for Mann to be doing period with handheld digital and Cohen will surely be just balls out.
God, I hope that Julie & Julia is actually great… and come on, Quentin… hit one out again… it’s been a long time!
I don’t know… another Harry Potter movie kind of defines it all for me… should be good… but hard to get excited for it…
Where’s the surprise going to come from?


20 Weeks… 4 Days To Go…

I don


20 Weeks – 2 Weeks To Go

Ladies & Gentlemen


20 Weeks To Oscar: 3 Weeks To Go

D. It Is Written
The great irony of this year


13 Weeks to Oscar – The Year of Ambiguity

We’ve seen The Year of the Bio-Pic, The Year of the Big Director, The Year of The Indie … but this year, it’s The Year of Ambiguity.
But like years past, it is looking like the thing that it is the “year of” may turn out to be the thing that becomes the least Oscar celebrated thing of all.
Australia, Che, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Defiance, Doubt, Revolutionary Road, The Reader, The Wrestler … all ambiguous in different ways … some ambiguous emotionally, some intellectually, some morally, some in style … but hard to nail down.
Great for critics. Crappy for marketing.

The rest…
And the charts…


15 Weeks to Oscar

It is that ambivalence that has made a near-lock out of Slumdog Millionaire, which would be seen as a strong underdog in other seasons, but as one of the few films that truly wears its heart (and movie love) on its sleeve, it has stepped into a front-running role. Anticipation for Benjamin Button and even a fear of Australia are similarly based on the idea that they will pull the trigger in a big way. (The love and fear of Luhrmann remain unavoidably within millimeters of each other.)
Which brings me to Revolutionary Road, one of those


17 Weeks To Oscar

Four of the


20 Weeks To Oscar – Do Politics Matter?

Four years ago, it was one of our softest Oscar seasons.
Eight years ago, it was one of our best.
How much does the election matter?
2004 didn’t seem terribly urgent, as the election went. As much as people wanted Bush out in this town, by this time of year it already seemed pretty unlikely that John Kerry had it in him to overthrow the W.
There was something rather retro about the season, with The Aviator, Ray, and Finding Neverland all set in the past; Million Dollar Baby feeling for all the world like a 50s period drama, and the only “current” movie was Sideways, which was, as most Payne/Taylor films are, kinda 70s.
Left behind were Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Sea Inside, The Motorcycle Diaries, Collateral, House Of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, and others


20 Weeks – Waiting…

The films will start landing in earnest in about two weeks, and between October 28 and November 21, most of the answers of what the season will really be will be answered.
But until then, the dance of Oscar is complicated by two major elements. First, the election is definitely making people nervous. They don


22 Weeks – Corrections, We Have Corrections…

As usual, the first round of 20 weeks charts have plenty of flaws and oversights… though some of the “oversights” are intentional.
Here are some:
I noticed on your prediction charts that you have THE DUCHESS spelled incorrectly (DUTCHESS)
One minor correction on the “22 weeks to Oscar” page – the release date for “Australia” is November 26, not November 14 (it was changed about a month ago).
where is Elsa Zylberstein?
ILYSL is gaining serious traction


22 Weeks To Oscar

The charts…
I am absolutely looking forward to the films at the top of the leader board. But the W.s and the Australias and the Seven Pounds and, of course, the Slumdog Millionaire, is where the fun seems to be this season. Winning


20 Weeks Of Summer… Wish Fulfillment

A theme for the summer has finally emerged from the back of my brain pan.
It’s not the most original idea, but it’s come together in the reflection of Iron Man‘s massive opening and the rising tide of expectation for Sex & The City, the male and female conduits.
But even more so, It was about figuring out the problem with Speed Racer? There was no character in that film that became the connective tissue to a wider audience. Speed is, pretty much, a kid in a fast toy. The emotional rooting interest was never offered in the advertising and the critics rarely noticed it, as they reached for vomit bags because too much movement tends to upset people over 30.
Of course, as I said from the moment I saw the film, the film is primarily for children, who dream, like Speed, of going fast, winning races, and receiving perfect love from their parents. But they didn’t sell that.
It’s Wish Fulfillment, Stupid.

The rest….
And updated gross projection charts…


20 Wks Of Summer Preview Week

Geeks and Girls have got to be drooling coming into the season. Not only is there an new Indiana Jones, but there is a great comic book hero coming along with some very good buzz, a new Batman from a hero director, a Star Wars that is supposed to look like a cartoon, and the return of two beloved geek colors, green and red. For women, Hollywood responded strongly to some female-driven hits in recent summers with no less than a half-dozen films aimed at them.
The big question mark of this summer is whether Sandler, Ferrell, Stiller, Carrell, Myers, and Pineapple Express is just too much boy comedy for one summer. 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