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David Poland

By David Poland

What Deadwood Is to Cursing

Rome is to graphic sex… endless, graphic nudity and sex.
Remember when Polly Walker was just sexy? Now we’ll all be expecting her and her 40something implants to have sex with a live animal by episode 3.
How can she not? Her first appearance in the show is fully front, mid-fornication, followed by a bad, followed by being covering in animal blood in a see through frock… oy yoy yoy yoy yoy…
I can’t decide if this show is actually good… but man, it is the raunchiest thing I’ve seen on TV for a while.

29 Responses to “What Deadwood Is to Cursing”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    I’ll give Rome one more week, but it’d better get good stat, or I’m outta here.

  2. Chester says:

    Those didn’t look like implants to me.
    The show so far is pretty good in a “Gladiator” sort of way. It’s not necessarily great art or history, but it’s quite entertaining.
    Seems like it’s pretty hard around here to get the regulars too excited about any TV show that doesn’t set out to break the Guinness record for use of the word “cocksucker.” The thing I love about HBO shows is that almost all of them reward patience. Even critically trashed stuff like “Carnivale” and “The Comeback” paid off nice dividends to loyal viewers. The only out-and-out crap IMHO has been “Mind of the Married Man” and “K Street.”

  3. jeffmcm says:

    Who is this Polly Walker? I looked her up on IMDB and none of her credits were familiar to me. Patriot Games?

  4. Chester says:

    She was an up-and-comer about 10 years ago. But she never quite up and came.

  5. Chester says:

    Regarding “Patriot Games,” if you remember the movie, she was the red-headed terrorist (her hair color was a minor plot detail at one point in the story).

  6. bicycle bob says:

    for 100 mill they sure got there sexual moneys worth.

  7. Krazy Eyes says:

    I thought ROME was pretty good. I’m certainly looking forward to watching the remainder of the series.
    Yeah, there was a lot of sex and nudity, and I guess for primetime HBO is was a little excessive, but it was nothing compared to your average episode of Real Sex or Cathouse.

  8. Bruce says:

    Deadwood is a much better show. Granted Rome will need some time to develop and hit its stride. But it has a lot to live up to.

  9. Josh says:

    I’ll have to catch a viewing tonight. The reviews are mixed so far but what do they know?

  10. cullen says:

    as usual, HBO nailed another series perfectly…what’s in the water over there? It’s not DEADWOOD yet (but what is?) but it got off to a great start last night and looks like it will get better and better. Great acting, smart writing, lots of nudity and sex and some nice violence…HBO never has to shy away from what makes tv edgy and dark and for that I am thankful.

  11. BluStealer says:

    Is anyone surprised that HBO has another good series? I guess after The Comeback people are within their rights to doubt them.

  12. knowitall says:

    Boy I disagree about Mind of the Married Man. I thought it was completely overlooked and should have made it. That show had more watercooler talk at work than anything I’ve ever seen. It pushed all the buttons and I think the critics missed it. Rome is something that feels like as much money as they spent it’s a bad version of Iclaudius. I’ve seen this before.
    I aso happen to think Entourage has gotten brilliant.

  13. Krazy Eyes says:

    While I did like “Rome” I understand the criticisms leveled at “The Comeback.” It’s got all the squirmy bits from Curb your Enthusiasm and Larry Sanders but none of the funny ones. I watched the first 4-5 episodes and never really liked any of them. Has it gotten better?
    What’s the buzz on the new Ricky Gervais show starting in September. No nothing about it other than the promo before Rome.

  14. Krazy Eyes says:

    sigh . . . that would be “know.” I need another a.m. coffee.

  15. PandaBear says:

    HBO does drama very well. It is the standard.
    But comedy? The only one they have done thats good is Entourage. And Dream On. Great for gratutious nudity.

  16. Jerri says:

    It’d still be boring if it’s endless violence (torture and chopping limbs off)and graphic sex (fine, but give us women something to look at because it ain’t fair to just show naked women full frontal, men should be too)and animal sacrifices. If the story doesn’t become more interesting I’m outta here. “I, Claudius” is still the gold standard, IMO.

  17. Terence D says:

    You can’t even attempt to compare this to I Claudius. It isn’t possible. It is not even in the same ballpark or area code.

  18. Wrecktum says:

    The problem with Rome is that it’s such a tired rehash that, unless it’s got a few surprises up its sleeve, there’s no way it can gain momentum.
    We’ve seen Roman debauchery before. We’ve seen Roman political intrigue. Roman battle scenes. It’s all been done. To death.
    If you’re going to give us the umpteeth story of the rise and fall of Julius Caeser, it’d better have little green aliens or mutant werebears or SOMETHING to pull it out of the same-ol-same-ol.

  19. Jerry Colvin says:

    Polly Walker was one of the stars of my favorite movie not yet available on DVD: Enchanted April

  20. Terence D says:

    Polly Walker is eating this over the top acting gig up. Nothing beats when a good looking actress really sinks her teeth into a role and chews on the scenery.

  21. PetalumaFilms says:

    PandaBear- there’s a really funny show on HBO called CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM as well. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
    I’m glad ROME is good, but I missed it last night. ENTOURAGE was fricking AWESOME. HenryHill said it on another entry about it being the best 1/2 hour of TV this year and he’s right. I was blown away by that episode!

  22. Bruce says:

    The list of great half hour comedies the past year is shorter than Jeremy Pivens hairline.

  23. BluStealer says:

    Kevin Dillon deserves a best supporting actor award for Entourage. He is really great.

  24. PetalumaFilms says:

    I agree with both of you guys. The 1/2 comedy has taken a turn for the worse in general. But even if it were the Seinfeld/Friends era, ENTOURAGE would still be way up there. Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven both deserve Emmy’s or Golden Globes. Dillon’s Johnny Drama is almost a lock for 3 genuine laughs a week now. The show has really hit it’s stride.

  25. Mark Ziegler says:

    The Comeback is painful to watch.

  26. Cadavra says:

    It’s difficult to believe two people are having sex when the woman’s pubic hair is clearly visible brushing up against the man’s navel…

  27. oldman says:

    Maybe the horse trader was built like a horse? (snicker) ok, ok… moving on

  28. joefitz84 says:

    It is going to need to grow on me but with HBO I give the benefit of the doubt.

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin