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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Hot Button – You Are What You Emulate

Truly original films are a rare commodity. They always were. But upon passing its hundredth birthday, the film industry is evolving in the way all the other arts have. There are plenty of remakes, but more interestingly, there are now more and more films that involve high quality talent, with high end aspirations, that can be tracked back to earlier film, particularly the early 70s era of independent minded studio magic.
There are two different forms of this phenomenon. The first form is film that flatters past greatness by Evolutionary Imitation. Those include:
Network + Erin Brockovich + Syriana = Michael Clayton
Days of Heaven + Heaven’s Gate + McCabe & Mrs. Miller + Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid + The Long Riders = The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
In the first case, there is story subtext in the first act that is clearly reflective of Network. I completely believe Tony Gilroy when he admits he admires the film and when he says he wasn’t cribbing. In the case of Jesse James, there are a variety of wildly familiar style points that Andrew Dominik has built into his own vision of this not unfamiliar story.
The other form, which I find more interesting, are the Completionist Films, such as:
Prince of The City + Superfly + Hoodlum + The French Connection + Mr. Untouchable = American Gangster
Hotel Rwanda + Shooting Dogs + Shake Hands With The Devil (the doc) = Shake Hands With The Devil

The rest…

3 Responses to “Hot Button – You Are What You Emulate”

  1. hendhogan says:

    i saw one trailer with monaghan in it for “heartbreak kid.” was wondering if i had imagined it.

  2. mutinyco says:

    “You are so self-righteous, you know. I mean we’re just people. We’re just human beings, you know? You think you’re God.”
    “I… I gotta model myself after someone.”

  3. seanwithaw says:

    nice woody quote.

The Hot Blog

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch