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David Poland

By David Poland

Very, Very Odd

This is barely an item, but I just saw Edward Norton on Regis & Kelly Lee and when asked about The Painted Veil not getting any Oscar nominations, he suggested (hemming and hawing a bit) that the film was not eligible for this year’s awards.
Paraphrasing (no Tivo in Utah)…
Regis: “I can’ believe this film didn’t get any nominations.”
Edward: “It’s just coming out now.”
“I got a disc a month ago, when Naomi was on.”
“You got an early look.”
“So it wasn’t eligible for this year’s awards?”
“It’s, uh….”
“It’s coming out now.”
It was actually a little more elaborate and avoidant than that, but this gives you the gist.
I can understand not wanting to talk about getting shut out, but… I’ve never seen someone do it like this before. If you didn’t know, you would absolutely have gotten the impression that TPV was not Oscar eligible in 2006.

15 Responses to “Very, Very Odd”

  1. Unfortunately I just saw the same thing (I say unfortunately because my wife simply insists on watching Regis and Kelly…and The View…and it makes me want to punch the TV) and it made me think that he was only saying that because people who might want to see the film might think it’s not “good” because it didn’t get an Oscar nom and “little” films like LITTLE CHILDREN, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, LITTLE PAN’S LABYRINTH and so on did get nominated.
    I dunno if people really sit at home saying “well, it didn’t get nominated for anything so lets go see something that did” but there is a certain cred that comes with having a nominated movie this time of year.

  2. Hopscotch says:

    For movies that people are unsure about, “unsafe” movies I call them, I do think that Oscar nominations help a lot.
    The “unsafe” movie for most this year is “Pan’s Labrynth” and “Children of Men”, I’m sure people who were on the fence to see Pan’s will put down the money now. I’m not sure about COM, though I tell every person it’s one of the best sci-fi movies I’ve seen in a long time.
    As a film fan, it’s one of the most frustrating things. I give my family, for example, a lot of grief for not seeing certain movies, and they’ll say the usual “looks weird”, “I don’t know anything about it”. Oh well, got to fight the fight.

  3. Szasa says:

    Keep fighting the good fight, Hopscotch.
    I one got into an argument with my father because he asked if I’d seen Patch Adams and I told him I hadn’t and probably wouldn’t. “We go see the movies you recommend, why should we see the ones you say are good?” he asked.
    “Because I would never tell you to see Patch Adams for one.”
    It leads to some frustration, but its worth it. I’ve gotten family members to see some great stuff they would have missed otherwise. If you can just get one ever once in a while…

  4. My mom sees EVERYTHING and I always tell her, “if you keep paying to see bad movies, they’re going to keep making them.” She doesn’t listen though.
    Shoulda heard the conversations when she told me “That movie SHORTBUS looks really cute…”

  5. Hopscotch says:

    Thanks for the support,
    Some memorable ones for me was when I was being “difficult” because I didn’t want to see Jumanji with the family. Or being accused of acting like a “film snob” because I didn’t like “Peter Pan” (the new one).
    It’s not a taste thing per se, but a safety thing. For some if they haven’t heard of the star or anyone involved they just don’t care to see it. Over thanksgiving, everyone HAD to see “Casino Royale”, fair enough. We saw it. We all liked it. A trailer of Pan’s Labrynth preceded it and I could hear the whispers of “what’s that?”, “who’d want to see that”, “are those aliens?”.
    But who am I to judge. I don’t control their brains or hearts, they don’t want to see movies which I find fascinating and endearing, I should probably let it go.

  6. Cadavra says:

    My father would always call me to complain about how violent movies were. I finally said to him, “Dad, look at the ad in the paper. If the star is holding a gun and there’s a little box at the bottom with a big R in it, there’s a very good chance it’s going to be violent.” Not sure he ever actually took my advice.

  7. Joe Straat says:

    One of my family members shut off Minority Report halfway through because there “were so many weird things they didn’t explain.” When I asked what they were, they were ALL explained in the second half of the movie. Heaven forbid a detective movie have any kind of mystery. I think it was more the weirdness that turned her off really, but oy…..

  8. ployp says:

    I watch mainstream movies and anything else I can get my hands on. However, being in Thailand, I only get mainstream movies in the cinema. I have to catch anything else on DVDs, months, sometimes years, after they’re released in the US. You guys in the US are very lucky to get such a wide variety. I envy you.

  9. Me says:

    My dad, when he was working full-time, would never watch anything that wasn’t mainstream and had a cop in it. Since he retired, and got a medical condition where he has to sit in the same spot for two hours getting treatment, he’s started borrowing everything his local library has in their collection. Now he’s constantly emailing me telling me about all the tiny and weird foreign films that he’s enjoying that I haven’t even heard of. It’s very cool.

  10. Richard Nash says:

    Not being able to sit thru a movie like MINORITY REPORT says something about the person watching it. Not movies itself. Thats just a lack of patience and that person would probably be better off just watching sitcoms.

  11. Hopscotch says:

    Another weird thing is that it is not an intelligence thing (though in some cases sure), but I remember a college friend of mine, who is literally one of the smartest people I’ve met and probably will ever meet. What movies does he like: Jackass, Bond movies and Adam Sandler.
    This might set off a bad string, but I do sometimes think it’s a gender thing. Some movies females will just refuse to admit there is any quality to what-so-ever. Men are just as bad. “notes on a scandal” has several oscar nods and gotten great reviews…but I’m still seeing Smokin’ Aces this weekend.

  12. jeffmcm says:

    Let me give Notes on a Scandal two thumbs up, it’s really entertaining and not at all a chick flick, if that’s what you’re thinking.

  13. Szasa says:

    I’ll give your friend the benefit of the doubt, Hopscotch. Maybe he just wants to tune out when he sees a movie. I can understand that. Assuming he’s getting his intellectual fill elsewhere. That’s why I don’t assume some deficiency of character based on movie choices. (Though I knew someone who made sure they had everything starring Chris Kataen and Rob Schneider and I found it hard to connect after I found that out.)
    I think there’s an interesting paradox because I definitely think there are people that refuse to watch anything fun so that their rather snobbish adherence to high-tone material is properly broadcast. I like to think of myself as (and prefer talking to others who are) pretty omnivorous when it comes to movies. I love smart and subtle, but I also need big and loud sometimes. I would never give up horror movies even if they are cheesy. So, I’m a little all over the place.

  14. Aladdin Sane says:

    Oh man, my mother loves Patch Adams. I’ve never purposely sat down to watch it, but over the years, I’ve probably seen most of it, and I keep telling her it’s too obvious, and she should be ashamed to be liking it. Oh well. And to think she’s the one who took me to R rated stuff when I was too young to see it on my own – like LA Confidential and Heat.
    At least she’s wise enough to acknowledge that Pulp Fiction is a great film, even if she doesn’t care for it when it comes to rewatch value…
    I will hopefully see Pan’s Labyrinth for a second time this weekend, and maybe Smokin’ Aces during a matinee.

  15. Lota says:

    Patch Adams
    HELL for me would be me tied to a chair forced to watch Patch Adams on an endless loop, forced to listen to The FInal COuntdown song on an for eternity with a pint of gelato and william holden(or someone else in my hotness list) in his prime, both just out of reach…forever
    I think Patch Adams makes me more mental than Forrest Gump, I don;t know what it is about that movie.
    I wish I saw that with Ed Norton. Maybe someone f-ed up somewhere and it will come out shortly so thus he did not know what to say…or only felt half-hearted about the support it got.

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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