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David Poland

By David Poland

Yes, The New Yorker

There are three absolute movie must-reads in the November 22 edition of The New Yorker.

Malcolm Gladwell’s piece about what constitutes plagiarism and just what is theft of intellectual content and what is not is one of the most important pieces I’ve read in a long time.  Gladwell and the New Yorker were perhaps-victims of a perhaps-theft by the author of the Broadway play, Frozen.  Yet, he manages to offer both his personal perspective and a journalistic one.  Tremendous piece.

David Denby’s long piece on Almodovar gets Almodovar better and more completely than anything else I have read on the filmmaker.  It was time for perspective on Almodovar’s career and Denby hits it out of the park.

And Anthony Lane, who generally pisses me off for having more interest in being clever than in discussing film, examines the story behind Finding Neverland.  And much like Gladwell, he offers both an excellent piece of reporting as well as some personal perspective on J.M. Barrie’s history.  He does take sides, but there is more than enough in the piece for you to decide how you feel for yourself. 

It’s the issue with the Barbara Bush-looking woman in an elevator, staring up at “Floor 4, Men’s Dresses.”  I think the cartoon edition has replaced this one on newsstands.  But it would be worth the effort to track it down.  Sorry I didn’t offer this up earlier…

UPDATE SUNDAY:  Thanks to Marc Weisblott for pointing us to’s New Yorker database with links to each of the stories above.

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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