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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB – Jan 2: The Weekend Begins

Condolences to The Travolta family… losing a child is one of the worst things that can happen to someone… 16…. seemingly past the young danger zone… not quite expected to be in the older danger zone… everything to live for, this kid… so sad…

44 Responses to “BYOB – Jan 2: The Weekend Begins”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    This is horrible. Truly. Trust me: If you even think something terrible has happened to your child, it hits you like a steel fist in your stomach.

  2. Joseph says:

    This is incredibly sad news. My heart goes out to the Travolta family. I second Joe’s comment. I’m not a father but I lost a younger brother when I was a kid and it’s so true what they say: the loss of a child is something a parent can never truly get over.

  3. a_loco says:

    David, I don’t know if this is just my computer being wonky or not, but every time I type moviecitynews.com into Firefox, the icon that shows up on the browser bar is that of Harry Knowles head.

  4. mysteryperfecta says:

    Just finished watching The Dark Knight. I may have to watch it again to confirm my thoughts (considering two distractions, ages 4 and 1), but I found it to be accomplished on several levels– the action and the story in particular– but I’m not sure I agree with the accolades being heaped upon Ledger’s performance. He was good, but I didn’t buy into the character tics. In a movie that tried to remain grounded, it came off like a performance. Also, the leaps in logic started to be off-putting, unless I should be aware of some large-scale, lightning-fast-yet-covert explosive barrel placement service.
    As someone with kids, Travolta’s loss is unsettling to me. Its the unnecessary reminder that it can happen to anyone.

  5. leahnz says:

    what sad news. may the love and support of the travolta’s family and friends somehow get them through what must be unbearable grief. i know i’ll be hugging my wee boy that much tighter tonight when i put him to bed, hoping like parents everywhere that the sheer force of love will somehow keep him safe from harm.

  6. IOIOIOI says:

    Freakin horrible.
    Mystery: it’s not a performance as much as it’s madness. It’s madness on display for all to see, and a madness that does not turn away from the camera. That’s why I love this Joker. He’s a Joker whou would pop a cap in the ass of Barbara Gordon. He’s a guy that would break Harley Quinn, turn her into a loon, and make her his partner in crime. The guy is bent in a way, that you seldom see on screen, but he knows what he needs. He knows that he needs the Bat, and that’s the point. What’s the point of being mad, if you can’t share it with a friend?

  7. jeffmcm says:

    As much as I love the Ledger performance…
    it’s still ‘movie’ madness. Real-life madness is a lot sadder, more insular, and less fun to watch. And Ledger’s creation is somebody more calculating than mad.

  8. EOTW says:

    I’m not a gossip guy or anything but there is some pretty nasty stuff about this kid’s death over on Defamer. True or not, the whole thing is awful. What i can say is that one of my best friends growing up was diagnosed with a serious illness when we were both 7 and he might’ve lived, had more of a chance but his parents were Christian Scientists and they would not allow him to see any doctors. My father was a docotr and pleaded with them to let him help but they wouldn’t let him and stopped the two of us from even playing together and he died less than year later. I will never forget his funeral. My father was so angered by their refusal to help their son that he couldn’t even go. Just awful. I really hope that isn’t what happened here.

  9. Art says:

    Forget about the Travolta family! David, I want to know the guy you tried to pursue at Entertainment Weekly! That’s crazy.

  10. Art says:

    Also, why would Entertainment weekly fire you over something like that. Aren’t they supposed to be a liberal minded magazine?

  11. Art? What the fuck are you on about?
    Such sad news for John, Kelly and the rest of the Travolta clan. I’m not wanting to turn it into something perverse, but I really would like to know the scientology angle of it. What are they going to say about the disease and all that such. They can’t really escape mentioning it, can they?

  12. mysteryperfecta says:

    “Movie madness” is a good way to put it. Much of Ledger’s performance was on target, but the lip-licking and cackling and affected speech and other mannerisms seemed like they belonged in another movie. No one else was chewing the scenery. However, the menace and presence his character had was palpable, and that was all Ledger. He had several good moments.

  13. christian says:

    The Joker was the only person ALIVE in TDK.

  14. christian says:

    And what a sad fate to be working for Defamer. Or reading it.

  15. Ray_Pride says:

    The Joker’s performance is rife with the intonations of Chicago barflies: more than observant use of Midwestern accents, there’s a little bit of Cicero in there. There are old guys in taprooms you can still find who speak in the cadences Ledger used.

  16. mysteryperfecta says:

    Ray: I’ll have to take your word on the Chicago influence in Ledger’s voice, although more generally, I have lived in the Midwest my entire life. I still believe his cadence was a little too pronounced, but it was always a minor quibble. And again, seeing the flick again under more ideal circumstances might change my perception.

  17. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: sure it is. Sure it is. Or should I call you SWORD AND PEN? MOTHERFUCKER… IT IS ON! DOWN GOES JEFFY MAC! DOWN HE GOES!

  18. leahnz says:

    that’s interesting, ray pride, i just re-watched ‘the dark knight’ and i was wondering about ledger’s vocal patterns/accent, what his model was, quite unusual.
    i’ve been trying to put my finger on it, and for me the other striking thing about ledger’s ‘joker’ is the surprising absence of evil in his deranged portrayal; he’s completely unhinged and psychopathic but isn’t so driven by simmering hate or malice, he doesn’t caper or revel much in his cruelty like the traditional joker, he does horrible things without relish apart from the occasional nutty laugh. to him it’s more a big game in which death and mayhem are just part of the play with no particular meaning past the next move on the board. i think this interpretation of the joker works within the context of nolan’s less fantastical gotham, but it’s a pity we won’t ever know if ledger’s joker could have developed further in this regard.
    (one aspect of ‘dark night’ i’d like to throttle nolan for: that absurdly irritating post-throat-cancer-surgery-sandpaper-scratching-across-gravel voice of the bat, it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. batman’s voice was perfectly reasonable in ‘begins’, what the hell happened, did he develop a 10-pack-a-day habit between the two flicks? ouch!)

  19. Triple Option says:

    mysteryperfecta wrote: Much of Ledger’s performance was on target, but the lip-licking and cackling and affected speech and other mannerisms…
    I know what you’re getting at. It all still worked for me but he was close, I mean really close from going over the top to being “wacky psycho” instead of sociopath. There was a realness in his cadence that upon reading some other posts here makes me understand the origin of something I’d heard before. Then there were times I thought the camera/editor picked up some nice subtleties. I’m still in the camp where whatever award he gets I’m cool with. Still, I wonder if had been shot on more modest means, w/out the lighting, multi camera angles and less cuts at their disposal would his performance just come across as hugely stupid. I guess that’s where part of the props come in w/out intention is that he did manage to toe the line to ruinsville.

  20. leahnz says:

    oh, the joker’s lip-licking is IDENTICAL to that of david tennant as barty crouch jr in ‘goblet of fire’. funny, that.

  21. David Poland says:

    Repeating my last response to Art…
    Art… Roger’s response to this alleged e-mail exchange that was printed on the TMZ message boards was, “This is a crazy person. I will fwd it to our lawyer.”
    The posting is, indeed, another variation on a series of e-mails that were also posted on TMZ message boards last year (or longer).
    I never worked in the office at EW. I have never even set foot in the EW offiices in New York. I am not gay. I am not HIV-positive. Etc, etc, etc.
    The whole thing is very odd. When it keeps coming up, I assume that it is someone out to create problems for Roger… who by the way, I consider an wet turd on the shoe of professional journalism. So no love lost there.
    Last time, I ended up posting the thread in the blog to simply get past it. This time, the thread includes some nasty personal stuff about Roger that I don’t have any way of confirming or denying in any real way. So I prefer just to stay out of it.
    Many people – mostly other press – seem to like to lie about me. I don’t quite understand it, but since I have felt free to have opinions about the work of others in public and have a profile myself, I have to accept that shit happens.
    There are now three people who seem to spend the most time obsessing on me, two almost exclusively in private and one in public. I would prefer there to be none. One never knows what people will choose to believe.
    I do not invest in people’s personal stuff. I don’t write about it. I do not talk about it. I do not think much about it. Everything I say in private about people’s work, I have said or am willing to say in public and/or to the person’s face. That is how I roll.
    And on I roll…

  22. Can somebody illuminate me to what this Defamer deal is? I can only see one article about the Travola tragedy on there and there are no comments (odd).
    For what it’s worth, the Australian Defamer is incredibly hysterical (although it helps that I know the head writer).

  23. Hallick says:

    You’re all right! It is incredible how Ledger could take a comic book villain character in a film and come up with a performance that seemed kinda over the top and movie-ish. Was there NO ONE on the set to tell him that he was supposed to be doing King Lear? Shame on that tragically dead dude. Shame.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    I’m not saying it’s a bad performance or that I dislike it – just describing it in what I think are accurate terms.

  25. LexG says:

    Pressing moviegoing matter:
    Has it been officially decreed that I need to see the trailer for HE’S NOT THAT INTO YOU in front of EVERY SINGLE THING I SEE? Damn, I thought New Line went out of business, but somebody’s making damn sure the promo is relentless with that; Swear I’ve gotten that trailer a good DOZEN times in the last 8 weeks alone, not just in front of appropriate things like Yes Man, but everything from Changeling to Twilight. If I have to hear that Cure song kick in one more time…
    And speaking of the movie/trailer, doesn’t it already seem a little… dated? I know it’s been on a shelf for some time and the book is a few years older, but that exchange where they’re explaining to Drew Barrymore what MySpace is and how it’s “the new booty call”? Makes it seem like it’s a period piece from 2003 or something… At the very least, they couldn’t have looped in “Facebook” to make it seem marginally more timely? (And Barrymore’s character doesn’t know about TEXTING in 2008?)
    Also, I see that Kevin Connolly/E FROM ENTOURAGE is somehow being primed for movie leading-man roles? Are we all OK with this? Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always a little perplexed by this guy… on Entourage he comes off looking like Michael J. Fox’s ill-tempered redheaded little brother, kind of cold and unpleasant compared to the genial Grenier, Ferrara and Dillon. Maybe the “tough guy” NYC accent just throws me on a short redheaded guy, but Connolly talking tough and acting “cool”– it’s like David Spade playing Serpico or something.

  26. leahnz says:

    ‘You’re all right! It is incredible how Ledger could take a comic book villain character in a film and come up with a performance that seemed kinda over the top and movie-ish.’
    just for the record, hallick, i said the exact opposite: that ledger’s joker is less the expected capering, evil comic book maniacal clown and more crazed-but-calculating sociopath game overlord, in spite of the face paint and lip-licking.
    (in the scene during which the joker’s actual natural face and skin are visible for an instant, in which he and his cronies disguised as cops shoot gordon, he’s so disarmingly baby-faced and innocent-looking in spite of the scars, i thought that was a nice touch)

  27. Hallick says:

    As far as the lip licking goes with Ledger’s Joker, it makes a lot of sense to me as a compulsive tic for the character, considering the damage done to his mouth. Personally, if I get a cut in my gums or a weird spot on my cheek, I can’t stop endlessly poking at it with my tongue for god knows what reason. Whether Ledger overdid the mannerism is up for debate.
    In attempting to answer a general complaint about this Joker performance, I obviously, and unintentionally, swept up a few posters in my sarcastic remark who shouldn’t have been, and I apologize for that. One of the annoying by-products of the Oscar race has been an endless dissection of Heath Ledger’s performance that I haven’t seen applied to any other candidates (nor do I expect to), so I got bitchy about it.

  28. leahnz says:

    hey hallick, good point about the validity of the lip-licking (plus it makes the joker vaguely frog-like, which i think is fitting somehow, he’s a bit like a frog out to catch flies in his trap [mouth])
    personally i think ledger did a brilliant job with nolan’s joker, and i was hugely sceptical to begin with, having grown up on my cousin’s ‘batman’ comics. the problem is the same as it always was: over-hyping followed by over-analysing and tall poppy syndrome followed by defensiveness. ssdd

  29. movieman says:

    Thanks for posting James Wolcott’s blog on Diane Keaton, Dave.
    Without it, I would have never known that Keaton’s “Smother” had “premiered” on Lifetime this weekend.
    And here I was thinking that “Smother” would go straight to video like Keaton’s “Mama’s Boy” did last summer.
    Come to think of it, a straight-to-video release–after a perfunctory, contractual one-week run somewhere in the hinterlands of North America–would probably have been a tad more dignified.
    Thanks to the “all-repeats-all-the-time” glory that is the Lifetime Network, “Smother” is being repeated tonight, so I already have my DVR set.
    Whoopee, and thanks again.
    (No irony intended in any of this post. I’ve adored Keaton since 1970’s “Lovers and Other Strangers,” and would happily watch the Katharine Hepburn of her generation in anything. Anything.
    Heck, I didn’t even think “Mama’s Boy” was all that bad.)

  30. movieman says:

    …and GODDAMN! Are some of you people still talking about fucking Heath Ledger?
    Ledger is gonna win his (undeserved) posthumous Oscar next month. Isn’t that enough? Seriously.
    Personally, I’d rather see Robt. Downey Jr. win the supporting Oscar instead: at least he’s still alive to collect it.
    And just think what sort of message Ledger beating Downey will impart to a recovering addict:
    “Go back on those devil drugs and fuck an Olsen twin, Bobby! And don’t forget to OD this time. That’s the only way you’ll get an Oscar in this town, loser.”
    Tres sad.

  31. Martin S says:

    Re: Heath – if you’ve worn or worked with prosthetic make-up, the adhesive gets very dry and tight to the skin. I’d bet he came up with the tick after a a few test runs under the lights as a way to incorporate the sensation to the character. IIRC, Nicholson came up with some of his facial expression, which includes several tongue licks, because of how the prosthetic re-shaped his mouth movements. The main difference is Heath carries a lot of what Goldblum did in The Fly, schizoid mouth and eye movements, where Nicholson was much more devilish.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    I think that Ledger’s performance is better than Downey’s – but to his credit, at least Downey does more than one thing in his movie.

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: Alas, “Mama’s Boy” did not go direct to video.
    http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117935554.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

  34. leahnz says:

    oh snap, movieman, so what exactly are you trying to say? 😀 lol
    (but i wouldn’t count on the ledger chatter dying down until after the oscar farce – i mean, show – and perhaps beyond if he loses, his performance seems to have touched a nerve. personally i’d give the ‘best sup. actor’ statue to james franco for his perfect ‘pineapple’ perf!)

  35. movieman says:

    Yeah, I do remember your “Mama” review in Variety during its one weeker in Texas last December, Joe. (That’s what I meant by the “somewhere in the hinterlands of North America” comment.)
    Guess I just misphrased that whole Keaton rant in my excitement at finally being able to see the long-delayed “Smother.”
    Ahhh, Leahnz! I hate to speak ill of the dead (particularly of an actor I admired on several, if not every occasion), but all of this Ledger (and “Dark Knight”) fetishism has driven me stark raving bonkers! And it seems like it’s been going on forever.
    I totally agree about Franco. I remember saying in my “Pineapple X” review that Franco gave a more accomplished (and certainly more entertaining) commedia dell’arte performance than Ledger did in “TDK.” And for the record: I thought Franco’s work in “Milk” was downright revelatory. It was one of the subtlest, and loveliest, performances of the year.

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    Hinterlands? Like, the fourth largest metro area in thr US? Hey, Movieman, I have an ass for you to kiss.

  37. movieman says:

    Joe- You know as well as I do that the film industry considers anything outside the Beverly Hills or Manhattan zip codes to be “hinterlands.”
    No Houston rap intended, Sir.
    Remember: I live in the frigging boondocks of NE Ohio, lol.

  38. leahnz says:

    bonza, movieman! (re: your fellow love of franco as saul in ‘pineapple’, such an endearing, entertaining and seemingly under-appreciated comedic gem of a performance.) and i can’t wait to see ‘milk’ and ‘rev. road’, darn it, i’m so deprived it’s driving ME stark raving bonkers!

  39. movieman says:

    So true, Leahnz.
    For all of their village idiot awards season status, the Golden Globes did manage to get a few things right this year (those major “Rev Road” nominations; recognizing Hoffman and Thompson’s delicious work in “Last Chance Harvey;” all their love for Woody’s “VCB,” etc.), but Franco’s “Pineapple” nod was as genius as his (sadly undervalued) comic perf.

  40. Joe Leydon says:

    Movieman: Just fuckin’ with you. LOL.

  41. Chucky in Jersey says:

    LexG, New Line was not shut down — it’s now a niche imprint with distribution through Warner Bros. The movie in question is “He’s Just Not That Into You” and it’s part of the oncoming onslaught of Chick Flicks.
    Watch the Liberal Media recoil with horror at finding movies made for women and starring women!

  42. EOTW says:

    Wow, jeff, way to rant about dumb awards. Nothing like kicking a man down when he’s dead. Love how your rant end with some faux francaise…LOL…nothing sticks in the craw like some froggy french!

  43. jeffmcm says:

    That was Movieman’s French, not mine (and wonderfully savage too).

  44. swordandpen says:

    Jeff: sure it is. Sure it is. Or should I call you SWORD AND PEN? MOTHERFUCKER… IT IS ON! DOWN GOES JEFFY MAC! DOWN HE GOES!
    Posted by: IOIOIOI
    Should I be flattered that IO is still traumatized by the verbal humiliations I unleashed on him well over a year ago?
    What a fucking loser.

Leonard Klady's Friday Estimates
Friday Screens % Chg Cume
Title Gross Thtr % Chgn Cume
Venom 33 4250 NEW 33
A Star is Born 15.7 3686 NEW 15.7
Smallfoot 3.5 4131 -46% 31.3
Night School 3.5 3019 -63% 37.9
The House Wirh a Clock in its Walls 1.8 3463 -43% 49.5
A Simple Favor 1 2408 -50% 46.6
The Nun 0.75 2264 -52% 111.5
Hell Fest 0.6 2297 -70% 7.4
Crazy Rich Asians 0.6 1466 -51% 167.6
The Predator 0.25 1643 -77% 49.3
Also Debuting
The Hate U Give 0.17 36
Shine 85,600 609
Exes Baggage 75,900 62
NOTA 71,300 138
96 61,600 62
Andhadhun 55,000 54
Afsar 45,400 33
Project Gutenberg 36,000 17
Love Yatri 22,300 41
Hello, Mrs. Money 22,200 37
Studio 54 5,300 1
Loving Pablo 4,200 15
3-Day Estimates Weekend % Chg Cume
No Good Dead 24.4 (11,230) NEW 24.4
Dolphin Tale 2 16.6 (4,540) NEW 16.6
Guardians of the Galaxy 7.9 (2,550) -23% 305.8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 4.8 (1,630) -26% 181.1
The Drop 4.4 (5,480) NEW 4.4
Let's Be Cops 4.3 (1,570) -22% 73
If I Stay 4.0 (1,320) -28% 44.9
The November Man 2.8 (1,030) -36% 22.5
The Giver 2.5 (1,120) -26% 41.2
The Hundred-Foot Journey 2.5 (1,270) -21% 49.4