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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

20 Weeks/T-Minus 19 – Whning While Mining

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8 Responses to “20 Weeks/T-Minus 19 – Whning While Mining”

  1. seanwithaw says:

    hilarious. you think hairspray will be nominated for best picture.
    even more funny is the John Travolta best supporting actor. but Dave, I think you chose the wrong movie he’ll be nominated for. His Wild Hogs role was meatier.
    of course i’m being completely sarcastic. Both roles are absolutely horrible.

  2. David Poland says:

    To think it doesn’t have a chance is rather narrow-minded. It didn’t make all that money because people didn’t like it or because it was driven by a gay audience.
    And as for Travolta, you should try seeing the film with an non-critics audience that has an opinion about the performance.
    I don’t think it is a lock or anything like that. But I do think there will be one lighter picture and I think that the two other significant candidates to be that picture – Juno and Lars – have issues. Sweeney could block Hairspray too… but we’ll have to see it to know. Or, of course, there could simply be no “light” entry… or Charlie Wilson’s War could be seen as “light” or something else. This is why I have weekly charts. I am not a clairvoyant… i just read where things are each week for 20.

  3. seanwithaw says:

    Wild Hogs was light and made a lot more money than Hairspray. So I think it also has Best picture potential as well.

  4. David Poland says:

    Yes… and when Disney thinks so, I will consider it.
    Oscar is not a vacuum and not about whether you or I liked a movie.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, but you’ve been pushing Hairspray more than anyone.

  6. Crow T Robot says:

    Oh lighten up, gang. Poland is the Sisyphus of Oscar bloggers… cursed to push a Broadway musical adaptation up Academy Awards Hill year after year, only to have it roll down come nomination time.

  7. seanwithaw says:

    oh i only tease. if hairspray is nominated. john waters will be happy. so that’s good.

  8. Travolta being nominated is more than possible. I can’t say for the industry, but a lot of people love him in that movie. I mean, I lot of people also love Amanda Bynes and she ain’t getting nominated, but when you have someone as perrenially popular as Travolta in a hit film doing a major dose of stunt casting then you have GOT to consider it.

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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