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David Poland

By David Poland

BYOB – June 23

Your space, but please, I have noticed an increase in personal sniping and cursing in comments, and it is not welcome or needed. You can be entertaining without being foul-mouthed and hurling f-bombs at everyone else.
And “are you stoned?” and all its variations really should be banned from this blog and all others. This comment has joined Hitler in the category of accusations that go too far to be of value.

35 Responses to “BYOB – June 23”

  1. But accusing people of being crack addicts is the epitome of dignified!
    On another topic, I’m kinda longing for the days when sequels would just add a number to the title, what with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen title being announced.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    That’s a stupid title.

  3. leahnz says:

    (that’s meant to sound in your head like the huge black guy with the deep, deep voice who keeps agreeing with everything the other huge black guy says to eddie murphy in the jail cell scene in ‘trading places’)

  4. hcat says:

    Revenge of the Fallen? Terrible. Those guys at Dreamworks must be fuckin stoned.

  5. hcat says:

    On another note, in a post last week about 4 months 3 weeks…. I said that I couldn’t think of an american actress under forty that would be able to carry the lead role. I had completly blanked on Maggie Gyllenhaal. Fantastic in Sherrybaby, Stranger than Fiction, and Secretary, can’t wait to see her in Dark Knight, so far the most accomplished american actress of her generation. Can’t believe I overlooked her in the conversation.

  6. mysteryperfecta says:

    I want, I need, to voice my agreement that Revenge of the Fallen is a terrible sub-title.

  7. R Scott R says:

    Noah Forrest has a column up about Edward Norton, which is interesting, but it has one of those lines that drives me crazy.
    “There is nothing wrong with blockbuster films whose goal is to entertain, but. . .”
    Every summer it seems there’s someone who feels filmmakers should apologize for making films to entertain. Instead of the “but” he should just put a period; to entertain is the point.

  8. mysteryperfecta says:

    Question: will Eddie Murphy’s Meet Dave compete with The Love Guru for the biggest comedy bomb of the summer? It looks positively awful.

  9. R Scott R says:

    As if in answer to my comment, MCN had a link to a story about critics.
    “the cinematic commentariat tends to . . .[rate] many very profitable genres far lower than cinema-goers do: chick flicks, romcoms, horror, children’s films and any returning title that is followed by a number higher than 2. That attitude to sequels is typical of the fundamental philosophical difference between serious critics, who flinch at the idea that they know what they will get, and civilian audiences, who are often attracted by familiarity.”,,2287007,00.html

  10. hcat says:

    Sigh, once again I was not invited to join AMPAS.
    Thought the idea for Meet Dave was cute but after seeing the trailer there is no way I am going near it. That big puffy red font used by fox for the title should be considered the equivilent of the skull and crossbones poison warning.

  11. IOIOIOI says:

    Word, Heat. Word. I also love Revenge of the Fallen because it gives away what the movie is about. The Fallen returns, gets revenge, and I would imagine the Autobots and Decepticons will have to team up to stop Unicron’s emissary.
    Right now it comes across as a ridiculous title, but it should make more sense once the trailers come out. People should start to get that the Fallen is a pissed off transformer, and he wants REVENGE! A dish best served on an energon plate.

  12. Aladdin Sane says:

    Hitler and being stoned. Never thought I’d see the two equated together.

  13. Don Murphy says:

    wow the addled digits guy actually got something right

  14. Noah says:

    R Scott R, I think your follow-up quote to your original comment is instructive but (there’s that but again!) I can only speak for myself when I talk about film and personally speaking, I find nothing wrong with blockbuster movies unless there is a talented star who is clearly slumming it. Bruce Banner just isn’t a good role and for Norton to try and elevate it was a lost cause from the get-go; clearly the motivating factor here was not to make great art and that truly is okay BUT I do want to see artists make art, not pulp. And I consider Norton to be an artist.
    But I think that quote is quite interesting because it’s something I’ve written about a lot: critics and cinephiles see 200 films a year and the average person sees 10 to 12, so clearly I’m going to be a bit harsher in my criticisms than the average person simply because of the sheer volume of cinema that I take in. It’s hard to see 200 movies a year and enjoy every one of them…unless you’re Harry Knowles.

  15. William Goss says:

    “Question: will Eddie Murphy’s Meet Dave compete with The Love Guru for the biggest comedy bomb of the summer? It looks positively awful.”
    I love how, three weeks out, even Fox has no real push for it. We’ve seen the same trailer and poster for months, and I’ve yet to see any TV spots or know any family or friends aware of its existance.
    Then again, if you’ve gotta dump it, you might as well dump it up against Hellboy II and Journey 3-D and rake in whatever Murphy’s name alone can attract. Bumping it would just delay the inevitable.
    P.S. General survey – which did you guys find to be worse: The Love Guru or The Master of Disguise?

  16. Aladdin Sane says:

    Will, do I have to watch either of the films to answer that question?
    They both looked equally offensive.

  17. Who “fell” in Transformers and who needs “revenge?” I’m not being smarmy or sarcastic, I remember neither forebearers of revenge or falling happening in the first one. In fact, I remember nothing from the first one except Shia had a shirt of the band The Strokes.
    “TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN” Starring Tarzan Jr., The B.A.G.’s girlfriend and the star of “The Rocker”

  18. IOIOIOI says:

    Mr. Lewis, here is your explanation from Wikipedia; “Although the Fallen’s origins are only suggested in his comic book appearance, they would be fully explained in Dorling Kindersley’s Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. One of the original thirteen Transformers created by Primus, the robot who would become the Fallen betrayed his creator by siding with Primus’s dark twin, the malevolent planet-eater, Unicron. In the final battle between Primus and Unicron, the Fallen fell victim to the same fate as his master, sucked through a black hole into another dimension. However, while Unicron emerged into another universe, the Fallen was not so fortunate, finding himself trapped in the ‘underspace’ between dimensions.”
    So this is the way to get UNICRON into this trilogy, and add a bunch of backstory to the transformers mythos. Which I may be alone in finding interesting.

  19. Aladdin Sane says:

    The Decepticons are the fallen. They did not conquer. Therefore they’ll come back with more bad guys and more stuff go boom.

  20. yancyskancy says:

    Didn’t about an hour of The Incredible Hulk get cut out before release? Maybe Norton’s artistry comes through there.

  21. Unicron? Really? That’s really the name? Good lord.

  22. William Goss says:

    In all fairness, Galactus was already taken.

  23. Yeah…but why not like “Warroir,” “Zillagod” or “Pegsusa.”

  24. LexG says:

    Well, I mean, not Transformers on their own, which were dorky kids’ stuff, but how awesome is it that Bay (ie, GOD) has turned some kiddie franchise into a celebration of ass-kickery, smoking hot chicks, technofetishization, and sun-burnt, oversaturated-colored worship of COMPLETE OWNAGE?????
    Iron Man is a nice movie and Favreau seems like a great, awesome guy… but he’s ultimately telling a classical story in a solid way. Whereas BAY IS COMMANDING YOU to RECOGNIZE, Tyler Durden-style, WHAT THE WORLD COULD AND SHOULD BE. BAY MOVIES are like MY TONY ROBBINS… an aesthetic that depicts everything we should aspire to in life: being awesome, owning, wearing sunglasses, being around bright colors, tanned chicks with midriffs, AND BECOMING THE MASTER OF ALL.
    (LexG available for any extra work/acting roles that would accommodate my 10-hour cubicle day schedule.)

  25. storymark says:

    “Unicron? Really? That’s really the name? Good lord.”
    Yep. the character was introduced in the 1985 animated movie. It was voiced by Orson Wells in his final role.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    “So this is the way to get UNICRON into this trilogy, and add a bunch of backstory to the transformers mythos. Which I may be alone in finding interesting.”
    IOI, it appears that you may have been right twice today.
    I was a Transformers fan as a kid, but all of this reminds me of that scene in Ghostbusters where Rick Moranis explains who Gozer is by telling us all “During the rectification of the Vuldranii, the Traveler came as a large and moving Torb! Then during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKittrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him, that of a giant Slor! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you.”
    PS: I don’t hate Lex, but I do hate his penis.

  27. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: you are hating on penises now? Good lord.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Just when they do the talking.

  29. LexG says:

    “Which did you guys find to be worse: The Love Guru or The Master of Disguise?”
    Since I’m seen both, I feel I am qualified to speak to this. (Curiously, both have a Jessica Simpson-as-herself cameo.)
    They’re both bad in a lame, silly kind of way, though MOD is relatively family-friendly instead of scatalogical.
    Through the sheer fact that he doesn’t seem to be trying as hard and never seems to get his props as a stellar comedian, I’d give Carvey the edge for a slightly more affectionately bad movie, even if GURU is better made and (arguably) cast, and somewhat less torturous to endure.

  30. Jeff, did you find that quote on the net or know it off by heart? I hope it’s the latter.

  31. jeffmcm says:

    Half and half.

  32. The Big Perm says:

    I think you shouldn’t hate Lex’s penis. I feel sorry for it.

  33. LexG says:


  34. leahnz says:

    jeff, great moranis quote. (and slightly scary if you actually remembered even half of that by heart, i bow down to your skills)

  35. jeffmcm says:

    It was a movie I watched a Lot on VHS back in the day.
    I hope my point came through, though. I think one of the reasons Transformers was so popular was because it was giant robots battling in the middle of a normal American city. The cartoon made that simple idea work in two seasons of animated junk (which I own on DVD). Bringing in a lot of convoluted sci-fi gibberish about the Transformers ‘origin story’ and Unicron and Primus or even the Quintessons is going to be unwanted and confusing to the mainstream audience. I can see going there for the third or fourth Transformers movie but all they need to do for the second one is bring one or two extra elements, like Constructicons or Dinobots.
    But I’m not Don Murphy, filmmaker extraordinaire, so what do I know.

Quote Unquotesee all »

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