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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB – Travel Wednesday

On the way to Park City…

28 Responses to “BYOB – Travel Wednesday”

  1. Chucky in Jersey says:

    It was only a matter of time before “Slumdog Millionaire” would be dissed as poverty porn.

  2. Gus Petch says:

    Roman’s post from Monday’s BYOB on Slumdog Millionaire: Also, does anyone else find it strange how proud “everyone” India seems to be over this movie. Now don’t get me wrong here, but the flick hardly paints a flattering picture (again, having lived in Asia, I haven’t believed much of it, thankfully) and all.

    Amen. I think the real appeal of this movie is that it paints people in the developing world as savages, allowing smug Westerners to feel superior and “concerned.” I was amused to read Roger Ebert fawning over the movie because it presents the “real India.” Yeah, in the real India, cops routinely torture (in the most horrific way possible) people suspected of cheating on game shows. That’s just to name one of the many barbaric acts the movie tells us are practiced by “real Indians.”

    Aside from the two protagonists, every other Indian in this movie is genuinely despicable. Like you said, hardly a flattering picture.

  3. I saw the film before the marketing machine really starting pumping the ‘feel-good’ super-happy romantic angle for the film (aside from blatantly spoiling every climactic beat in the posters and trailers). I took it as a dark fairy tale/fable, and thus you’re allowed to have lots of darkness before the light. But I do find the marketing genuinely distasteful (especially as it emphasizes a ‘Great Gatsby-ish’ romance as a good thing), but that’s not entirely the movie’s fault.

  4. I saw SLUMDOG at the Austin Film Festival and all I knew of it (literally, all) was that Danny Boyle directed it and it got dissed on distribution.
    I had absolutely ZERO idea of the plot, who was in it, anything. And, it blew me away. It was engrossing and uplifting. Exciting and surprising.
    I think the backlash now has less to do with what’s onscreen than the mentality that everyone’s a critic. People want THEIR favorite movie to get the praise and the awards and as such, they focus on anything they can to throw stones at something perceived as a threat. (*Note: that’s not a diss at Gus or Scott or anyone in particular, just sayin’ is all)
    Movies like Slumdog make me glad I try to avoid any info on a movie and just see it for what it is and I wish more people would do that.

  5. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    I’ll alert Megan Fox’s security detail DP.
    No Chucky, I called SLUMDOG poverty porn or something close to that last Sept immediately after its TIFF screening. Not part of any backlash. I think the film rings false, manipulative and is like SALAAM BOMBAY directed by Aaron Spelling.

  6. LexG says:

    Freida Pinto is way too hot for that douche. Plus she looks 28 years old and Jamal looks like a 14-year-old nerd in a Puffy Shirt. WORST ROMANTIC COUPLING EVER.
    Also, he seems like kind of a stalker and a tool. And why isn’t she more battle ravaged from being raped by thugs for FIVE-TEN years? All running around dressed to the 9s in scarves and shit, seemingly no worse for wear.
    Also Boyle should’ve shown how Douche-al got through the screening process with his sadsack ass.
    And see the last BYOB for 10,000 more nitpicks if you missed it.
    Fucking ONE MISSED CALL is more worthy of an Oscar.

  7. LexG says:

    Oh, and I just realized what would have salvaged SM and would have OWNED:
    The thug brother should’ve shot up the place and escaped with the hot chick. Why not? Boyle steals every shot and soundtrack cue of that storyline from Tony Scott anyway?
    Yeah, that brother could’ve blown everyone around and run out with Pinto hand in hand, then shown up at the train station all making out, Patel catching THOSE TWO making out and getting his ass served exactly like Lawrence Monoson at the end of LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN, titles going up on his sad, dejected face.
    There, I just made it a better movie.

  8. For what it’s worth, I did rather like the movie when I saw it in September, and I still do. I just was a bit unnerved by how they seemed to have emphasized the most sophomoric aspects of an otherwise good movie. The campaign made a movie that I saw and enjoyed look out and out unappealing to me. And, Don is right. I too went it blind with only a token amount of knowledge about the game show set up, and I’m incredibly glad for that.

  9. Gus Petch says:

    Don, I think you’re overreaching with your speculation about the SM “backlash”. For what it’s worth, I also went in nearly blind, knowing only that it was well-received and the suspected-of-cheating-on-a-game-show premise.

    Of your description — “It was engrossing and uplifting. Exciting and surprising.” — I’ll give you everything except surprising. Surprising in what sense? Surely nothing in the basic story arc can be considered surprising to anyone who’s watched a Hollywood movie in the past 40 years. The hero-overcomes-adversity-to-triumph-and-get-the-girl story is as cliched as they come. Even a more specific description, like hero-overcomes-poverty-to-win-a-big-contest-and-get-the-girl, covers a lot of past movies. I’m trying to think of particular plot twists that might be regarded as surprising, and I can’t come up with any. What did you regard as surprising? The dancing at the end? (If it’s that, I’ll happily concede the point. The Bollywood number and end credits were easily worth the price of the ticket.)

    I liked “Slumdog Millionaire.” I thought it was a well-made manipulative formula movie, and that’s OK. They keep churning out formula movies for a reason. If I got to vote for the Oscars, though, I’d pick something more imaginative and, yes, surprising.

  10. EthanG says:

    In honor of Ricardo Montalban, who just passed away.
    “KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!”

  11. I should qualify “surprising” better. I was surprised by the content, not the plot. Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t seen it…but what happens isn’t all that surprising.
    I was surprised at the depth of the story and the journey in it. And some of these visuals (as is always the case with Boyle) just bowled me over.

  12. LexG says:

    Anyone watch American Idol tonight?
    It fucking ruled. (Last night SUCKED.)
    That chick who sang Vanessa Carlton OWNED.

  13. LexG says:

    Hey where is Joe Leydon when you need a recommendation?
    Joe L., if I watch James Brolin in NIGHT OF THE JUGGLER (1980 NYC cop flick), am I going to get OWNED? I’m thinking signs point to yes.

  14. LexG says:

    Sorry, three in a row but if I keep it lower cased, I hope that’s okay,
    But ia it true Vanessa Hudgens might be in “Twilight 2″?
    Should I quit tying this *noose* right now? Because (and you will think I’m 100% joking) that possibility might be the closest thing to “happy” news I’ve had in days.

  15. If Hudgens ends up being cast, that turns the series into a whole different beast (pardon the unintentional pun). I don’t know the size of the role she’s trying out for, but having a super huge (demographically speaking) star in a relatively small supporting role will certainly change the whole film (how it’s discussed in the tabloids, how its marketed, etc).
    It’s an interesting artistic risk, for the sake of an easy payday (which of course, as we know, is all Summit cares about).

  16. SJRubinstein says:

    Anybody heard anything about the new “Pal Joey” or “The 39 Steps” on Broadway? Similarly, the “Guys and Dolls” production going into previews on Feb. 4th. Trying to map out my New York Comic Con-related nighttime activities.

  17. Triple Option says:

    Without revealing too much and certainly no spoilers but for those who’ve seen both Twilight and Let The Right One In, can you explain how much similarity runs between both films? Based on what I’ve heard, I would rather see Let The Right One In but if it’s going to invite comparisons then I think I would rather see Twilight first as it didn’t seem to garner the same mass of critical love.
    For some reason I feel like I need to be able to speak intelligently about both. (???) Not sure what kind of summit would require such but I like to have all my bases covered. Can’t say that I’m particularly hyped to seeing Twilight as it is but I could see the experience being dreadful if I’m sitting there thinking, “Guh, how lame. This was done so much better in Let the Nerd in.”
    But if they’re pretty different, such as Honeymoon in Vegas and Indecent Proposal, or 28 Weeks Later and Resident Evil, then I’d like to know so I can go see Let Me In w/out anxiety of future viewings.
    Thanks

  18. Well, I haven’t seen “Twilight” but I can’t fathom it resembling “Let the Right One In” in the slightest. Even the vampires genders are opposite. Plus, “Let the Right One In” is very moody and dark while “Twilight” seems teen oriented.
    Lemme put it this way…..one is art (LTROI), the other is commerce. See “Let the Right One In,” it’s amazing.

  19. Not David Bordwell says:

    I haven’t seen Twilight, either, but I have to second Don on this, Triple Option. I am a huge fan of the vampire genre, and Let the Right One In takes vampire mythology in fascinating directions that I can’t imagine Twilight being bold enough to explore. It stayed with me for days after.
    Don’t tell Kim Voynar, but I also haven’t read the source material. Honestly, though — after Buffy, how much mileage is left in the high school kids dating Anne Rice vamps trope? Obviously speaking out of ignorance here, but is there that much more you can do on film? Even on that show it was played for laughs at times.

  20. Noah says:

    Triple Option, you definitely don’t need to see Twilight. It would be like comparing Unforgiven and Mr. Saturday Night. The vampires in Twilight aren’t even vampires; they don’t even burn in sunlight, their skin turns to diamonds. It’s an utterly useless film whereas Let the Right One In is utterly transcendent.

  21. Not David Bordwell says:

    One might even call Let the Right One In “Dreyeresque.”

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Twilight is bubble-gum wish-fulfillment that takes a step backwards from where Buffy got to. Let the Right One In is art-house anti-wish-fulfillment (as in, SPOILERS, the main character gets exactly what he wants, and it’s probably his doom). They’re about as far apart as a couple of mainstream movies can be (although I don’t know if ‘Dreyeresque’ is quite right.)

  23. Chucky in Jersey says:

    LexG, the follow-up to “Twilight” is called “New Moon”.

  24. T. Holly says:

    omg, 10 Days of Sundance is using the power symbol
    http://www.beatnikpad.com/archives/2004/02/03/the_power_on_icon

  25. Twilight is fan fiction, Let the Right One In is not.
    I’m still not entirely sold on Let the Right One In though. Great start and ending and moments spread throughout, but as a whole movie it didn’t work. Too busy playing in a fuzzy middleground between horror and intellectualism. Meh, nevermind. I’m very much in the minority on that, much like I was with The Host.

  26. Not David Bordwell says:

    Update: I read two pages of New Moon over the shoulder of a fellow commuter today. The pieces I caught were total shite.
    “Kiss me again.”
    “Don’t try to push the limits of my self-discipline” [or words to that effect].
    “Are you more tempted by my blood or my body?” [that I remember verbatim]
    “It’s even.” [that too; I couldn’t make up something that insipid]
    Then, something like:
    I was exhausted anyway; the day had been a difficult one in many ways. Yet I had the feeling that tomorrow would be more difficult, as if the worst was still ahead. As silly premonition, really, how could anything be worse than today? It was the shock catching up to me, no doubt. I snuggled [yes, snuggled] closer to Edward, and surreptitiously pressed my injured arm against his cold skin, to ease the pain. It immediately felt better.
    My apologies to the fans, but this is not what I expected considering the enthusiasm for these books from the target demographic and their feminist moms. It’s not exactly Jane Austen, or even Jane Eyre.
    >sighUpdate: I read two pages of New Moon over the shoulder of a fellow commuter today. The pieces I caught were total shite.
    “Kiss me again.”
    “Don’t try to push the limits of my self-discipline” [or words to that effect].
    “Are you more tempted by my blood or my body?” [that I remember verbatim]
    “It’s even.” [that too; I couldn’t make up something that insipid]
    Then, something like:
    I was exhausted anyway; the day had been a difficult one in many ways. Yet I had the feeling that tomorrow would be more difficult, as if the worst was still ahead. As silly premonition, really, how could anything be worse than today? It was the shock catching up to me, no doubt. I snuggled [yes, snuggled] closer to Edward, and surreptitiously pressed my injured arm against his cold skin, to ease the pain. It immediately felt better.
    My apologies to the fans, but this is not what I expected considering the enthusiasm for these books from the target demographic and their feminist moms. It’s not exactly Jane Austen, or even Jane Eyre.
    >sigh< Where have you gone, Buffy Summers?

  27. Cadavra says:

    SJR:
    39 STEPS is fantastic and not to be missed. Saw PAL JOEY in previews with a different lead, but it was a decent production and Stockard Channing is terrific as always. As for G&D, the cast alone suggests it’ll be a fine time. Too bad so many shows have closed this montn…

  28. yancyskancy says:

    NBD: I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, but since the narrator is a contemporary high school girl, maybe it’s unrealistic to expect Austen or Bronte. The target demo probably, like, totally identifies with her. The feminist moms, I have no idea. Nostalgia?

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