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MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Can You Hear the Distant Thunder of the Big Fall movies?

They’re getting closer. But in the meantime, Sony’s giving us Gattaca and I Know What You Did Last Summer instead of Starship Troopers. Fox is giving us A Life Less Ordinary instead of Alien Resurrection. And Disney is staying out of the fray altogether until it’s ready to smash the animated classic/Robin Williams 2X4 over the head of Fox’s Anastasia.
Gattaca should open on top of the box office crowd with around $12 million. Sony is marketing as fast as they can, but the weird title and soft reviews are keeping the buzz from exploding. Seems like Sony sated a chunk of Gattaca’s audience last weekend with its other genre movie, I Know What You Did Last Summer, which should take the standard 35 percent drop to $10.3 million for second place. The Devil’s Advocate should retain its “Number One Devil As Lawyer Movie In America” title with a 30 perecent drop to $8.5 million. Then, there’s a huge holdover drop, down to a likely third week showdown between Kiss the Girls and Seven Years In Tibet for fifth and sixth at around $4.2 million. Sneaking into that gap, A Life Less Ordinary should fall in love with fourth spot with around $6 million.
Fairy Tale: A True Story is a hard sell in a weak kids market, seamlessly opening in the now-gone Rocketman’s seventh slot with $3 million. In & Out is heading toward the latter with about $2.6 million for eighth place. Over the lips and through the gums, look out cable, here comes Soul Food — ninth with $2 million. And rounding out the top 10, one must acknowledge Bean, the Rowan Atkinson comedy that’s already broken the $100 million mark in foreign release and domestically has only opened in Canada — yes, Canada is part of the domestic box office — to the tune of more than $2 million.
Finally, Boogie Nights expands to 50 screens and should pull in a little over $1.25 million before opening wide on Halloween. That’s quite a costume, Marky Mark!
What are you planning to wear for Halloween? Actually, I don’t care, but if you have something to say, email me.

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“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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