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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Funny People Video Review

31 Responses to “Funny People Video Review”

  1. lazy says:

    first! (i know, that’s lame)
    just wanted to comment that the video clips of dp are slow to download where as the video clips of movie trailer for Coen Bro’s new movie is slow. found that to be the case for dp’s Funny People and Basterds (sp) as well. Tech issue or just me?
    take care

  2. christian says:

    These embeds are always way too slooooooow.

  3. The Pope says:

    Ditto. It is a tad inconvenient, but I go on to YouTube and watch them there without a glitch.

  4. mysteryperfecta says:

    Good review.
    You should have ended it with, “From the sun, this is David Poland reporting.”

  5. pchu says:

    This is a serious question, not a sarcastic remark.
    Is there a must see movie this summer (except The Hurt Locker)?

  6. LYT says:

    For me, Up and In the Loop are movies I would suggest all serious film lovers see.

  7. yancyskancy says:

    Yeah, when I try to watch these things here, they pause and refresh every few seconds, rendering them basically unwatchable. But as the Pope says above, they play just fine at youtube.com. Just click the youtube logo in the bottom right of the frame.

  8. LexG says:

    Question: (admittedly I haven’t seen F.P. yet):
    Are there really any big comedic movie stars on the level of the Sandler character in this movie that would STILL be doing standup?
    Just going by the trailer, the character looks to have the fame level of… er, Adam Sandler. But don’t most if not all comics who REALLY hit it big kinda foresake standup at some point?
    There are great and/or famous comics who do movies (Dane Cook, Chris Rock), but the focus always stays pretty much on the standup, and level of movie stardom stays pretty B- or C-list.
    But the guys like Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Rogen, even Robin Williams (though I know he did a tour a few years back) — have all pretty much (understandably) stayed with film acting.
    Minor, minor gripe, and certainly Apatow knows the standup world… but speaking from minor experience, the world depicted here seems… kinda 1989, where movie stars and TV stars are still doing gigs at the Improv, and up-and-comers like the Rogen and Hill characters are achieving some minor success; A more realistic depiction of modern standup would be Rogen and Hill doing bringer shows in the Valley or going up at the Amagi sushi bar on Gower to absolutely zero paying audience and the same six comics they see every night anyway.
    I realize they’re supposed to be a notch up from open micers, but the CURRENT L.A. comedy scene is so underattended there’s almost zero middle ground… even the guys who get the most stage time at the Store and M Bar are essentially open mikers who might do one paid gig or festival a week (or month), and spend most if not all nights doing it unpaid for usually no audience.
    Just saying, there’s got to be some pretty ’80s nostalgia for the old “brick wall” scene going on if no-name comics are performing on the same lineup as THE BIGGEST MOVIE STAR IN THE WORLD.

  9. leahnz says:

    clearly nothing is knocking DP’s socks off at the mo

  10. Geoff says:

    I have to disagree with Dave on this one – I saw this, this afternoon, and loved it. Smart, funny, well acted, and sure a little longish, but I have to say it’s actually Apatow’s tightest film – really liked Knocked Up and 40YOV, but both felt longer and a little on the choppy side.
    This is coming from some one who has NEVER allowed himself to truly enjoy an Adam Sandler movie – I absolutely hated Spanglish and though I’m a bit PTA fan, I did not really like Punch Drunk Love. But Sandler did a very good job in this – I have to say many scenes felt quite intimate, it just didn’t have the flowing-from-the-raptors melodrama or punch of a Rachel Getting Married, a movie that I also liked.
    Sandler’s character is quite tough and is seething with resentment through most of the film and it is well-played and there is actually some growth there, though not too much.
    Rogen is quite likable and suprisingly innocent, as well – probably among his more charming roles.
    Mann brings her A game, as usual; the rest of the cast shines, too. And it was really nice to see Eric Bana play comedy and play it well.
    I think a lot of the pre-release hype has gotten it quite wrong – this is a more serious movie, but it’s as consistently funny as anything Apatow has done. The ads pushed Universal really hurt this, though – SPOILER BELOW
    SPOILER ALERT
    That first 3 minute trailer really ruins the plot and basically betrays the whole drive and even the climax of the third act – it sucked to know what was coming and would have been better as a surprise.
    And LexG, I know you have remarked on the standup – I’ve seen those ads several times and virtually NONE of the standup jokes from those commercials appear in the movie; it’s all much dirtier material and much funnier, too. This film gets it right where Punchline got it so wrong – the standup routines are ACTUALLY quite funny and the laughter is earned.
    Is the movie as deep or profound as it aspires to be? Probably not, Dave is right as not as much transpires as you would expect, given the running the time. But I enjoyed these characters and enjoyed it, nonetheless. And it truly ends on the right note.
    And sorry, yes half of the main characters are rich, but the other half are truly struggling – you definitely get the sense of desperation from Rogen’s character and his wide-eyed appreciation for entering a new, more glamorous world. It’s played very well.
    I know a lot of critics are saying this, but I agree – Apatow showed real growth with this one. Is there a bit of naval gazing and inside baseball aspect to it?
    Sure, but the movie is about standup comics and entertainers – that’s the subject matter he chose.
    Standout movie – probably the fourth excellent film I have seen in a row – 500 Days of Summer, Public Enemies, The Hurt Locker – this has turned out to be quite a good summer!

  11. IOIOIOI says:

    Keep the beard Heat Wave. ROCK IT! ROCK IT, DAMN YOU! ROCK IT!

  12. David Poland says:

    The Judd Apatow movie for people who hate Judd Apatow movies?

  13. IOIOIOI says:

    People hate Judd Apatow movies? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

  14. Geoff says:

    Was that directed at me, Dave? I really liked 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, but liked Funny People a bit better.

  15. brack says:

    I saw Funny People last night, and absolutely loved it. It’s smart, funny, and doesn’t feel formulaic- -which is Apatow’s formula.
    A very strange review David. Funny People’s not about who these characters represent (movie star, struggling actor, housewife, etc.) that’s important, but how these characters are portrayed, which in this film’s case was surprisingly real. You didn’t see how George was dealing with the idea of his death? The dude went back to an early love, stand-up comedy, at a dinky comedy club. It’s when he meets Ira, how he encourages him and hires him so he has someone to be there without having to really deal with his reality. Ira reminded George of himself at that age. Ira is an innocent but also understands how the comedy business works, so I don’t think his character was supposed to change as much as you would’ve liked.
    I just think you’re being a bit jaded. That happens sometimes.

  16. yancyskancy says:

    Lex: I haven’t seen the film yet, but I think brack answered your question — it appears that the Sandler character returns to stand-up only after getting his diagnosis.

  17. David Poland says:

    Why is there always some “here’s what’s wrong with you if you disagree with me” thing?
    Jaded? Sorry if “real” amd “real interesting” are not necessarily the same thing to me.
    So we spent 2.5 hours on why a guy is a jerk before and after he gets a death diagnosis… just a different kind of jerk?
    As I said in the review, I am fine with that, actually… if the filmmaker actually makes the hard call about why that isn’t a good thing. But what we get are excuses for his bad behavior and utter disinterest in anything but his own comfort… which he is incapable of achieving at this point in his life… and which the death threat does not change.
    THAT movie – without the mollycoddling – could be great. It would, however, be pitch black. It would include, for instance, the only reason why Ira would have to go back to the grocery store… George blackballing him. It would include, for instance, a real look at a woman who is willing to break up her family for another shot at being a successful actress instead of being a bored but rather well taken care of housewife, but only if it’s easy. It would, for instance, take seriously the issue that Ira backstabbed his friend when the job came along, instead of putting the pal on a TV series so the damage wasn’t noticeable… unlike real life, where the Jonah Hill character ends up on the couch and working at the grocery store.
    Obviously, my examples don’t have to be THE examples. My point is that reality is not as neat as this film. And that can be fine in film too… so long as it’s not pretending otherwise.
    As I said, I don’t hate the movie… but this discussion is pulling me more in that direction because you have me thinking about the utter hypocrisy of the piece. Unlike Virgin or Knocked, this is not an absurdist piece at all. This pretends to be how life really is. You bought into that, brack. But Apatow reduced a lot of very serious choices by people down to the emotional level of a fart joke. I am sure that he is much deeper than that. But it’s much safer this way. And for that, I am disappointed in him and the film.

  18. brack says:

    “Why is there always some ‘here’s what’s wrong with you if you disagree with me” thing?’”
    Hey, it’s fine if you didn’t like the movie, but there were specific questions or ponderings you had about the film that I disagreed with, using specific examples, so to me it seemed you either weren’t paying attention to the film or you didn’t buy the film. That’s fine if you didn’t buy it, whatever, I’m not here trying to say you’re wrong, just that you didn’t seem to take a lot from scenes where it was pretty obvious what was going on.
    “Jaded? Sorry if ‘real’ amd ‘real interesting’ are not necessarily the same thing to me.”
    The film is filled with a lot of good, earned laughs, and some silly laughs, and strong performances, that’s what I mean by ‘real.’ Laughs might not interest you when it comes to watching a comedy, but it does to a lot of people. Is there really such a thing as boring laughs? I guess you wanted complete reality in a film if it touches on certain topics like leaving your husband to restart an acting career, or betraying a friend to get a job, but the thing you must realize is that the actions the characters take when dealing with their situations were indicative of their character and motivation. The film inferred a lot of drama going on off screen. What you’re asking from this film simply wasn’t warranted, and definitely wouldn’t make much for comedy.
    “Unlike Virgin or Knocked, this is not an absurdist piece at all. This pretends to be how life really is. You bought into that, brack.”
    It pretends to be, or is that just your interpretation? Regardless, I don’t think the material called for the drama you were yearning for. You wanted the characters to make “difficult decisions.” I didn’t think the film made any choices about the characters that were out of character.

  19. Joe Straat says:

    Caught it today. I enjoyed much of it, though it really only had one big laugher scene in it (The one where George is having dinner with a certain celebrity about how beating his illness might not have been a good thing). I would’ve liked to have seen the standup scenes extended more and some of the lengthier scenes cut down. The standup is good, but they only have a chance for doing one or two jokes per set before it’s on to the next scene. A lot of standup is based off of momentum, and the biggest laughs are when the momentum’s really rolling and you don’t really get that here.
    As for the what the characters learn, I think the movie’s more about how it’s the little things that change us than the big events. Yeah, it’s not the most earth-shattering thing in the world, but for people like George, it was something he needed to figure out.
    SPOILERS AHEAD
    When George gets the love of his life back, sure it’s great when they’re banging and exchanging clever dialogue, but when he learns about the things that come with it, like watching her daughter sings Cats or spending time with them, his interest dissolves a little. He doesn’t make the selfless step because he’s never had to. As long he can pay people to take care of all the tiny things or have sex with all the star seekers he wants, he gets that quick fix that’s good enough to keep going. He touches on something deeper with Ira and doesn’t realize it until George fires him. At the end, he writes Ira some jokes for Ira’s standup act, and it’s probably the first selfless act he does in the movie, so it’s a step. It’s not gigantic and it’s the end of the damned movie, but there it is, and it is something that’s the one internal change despite being on the verge of dying and back. It’s not going to change your life, but there are about a dozen things in your life that change your life. If one’s a movie, it’s a damned excellent one.
    I didn’t love it, and I see some of Dave’s problems. Certain things like the Cats moment were overplayed (Plus, didn’t Kevin Smith already pull the kids singing Cats thing in Jersey Girl? And is this “every girl sings that song from Cats” schtick a coast thing that I don’t get, because we have little children singing hymns and Disney around here. I’ve never heard of a kid singing Cats around here), but I’ve seen people celebrate a lot less in a comedy.

  20. Geoff says:

    You know, Dave, you’re picking apart the film for content issues that it just did not need to address: SPOILER ALERT
    There is a shouting scene between Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen addressing that issue and it works and it’s a nice touch because it shows that Ira is not above being “competitive.”
    And really, you could pick apart just about any similar film like that, but you don’t always do so. Sideways, any one???? You loved that film, but you could have easily picked the plot apart just as much:
    i.e. Paul Giamatti’s character steals money from his mom, how come THAT is never addressed again?
    How come we never hear from Virginia Madsen’s character again after she confronts Giamatti’s character about the big lie? Didn’t she deserve at least a follow-up scene?
    Seriously, if you’re looking hard enough, you can do that for most movies, especially character-driven comedies and/or drama’s.
    And there’s the rub and it should be a newsflash for most of us who love movies – if you don’t actually like the characters, then you won’t like the movie, regardless of the plot. It’s really that subjective and no more simpler than that – you did NOT like the characters in Funny People and thus did not like the movie. It’s obvious that you loved the characters in Sideways and therefore, you loved the movie.
    I mean, we’re all guilty of this – I found things to pick apart from The Wrestler a few months ago (too many melodramatic flourishes in the second half) but upon reflection, I can honestly say I just didn’t like The Wrestler character enough to make the rest of it work. I know this puts me in an extreme minority, but I did not feel that much sympathy for Mickey Rourke’s character – felt to me that he did a lot of lousy things that lead him to the position he was in. It’s subjective, of course, and I did think the movie was solid and very well made in parts, but that hurt the movie for me.
    I wish more of us could just be honest about this stuff and get past all the plot bullshit to justify why we did or didn’t like movies like this. If you DON’T like the character, you won’t like the movie. Bottom line.
    I’m sure that with regards to Iron Man, you just did not really like Tony Stark (it’s come out in later blogs that you have written, referring to the movie) and that with regards to Pirates, you really dug Jack Sparrow. When you like the characters, you can forgive a lot of other stuff. Long thesis over, thanks.

  21. LexG says:

    M A S T E R P I E C E.
    Thoughts to follow, though I might rip off Poland and video-review it on my YT page.
    Couldn’t believe how good Sandler was in this. And I’m a huge fan… He’s fucking incredible in this.
    This thing made me want to do standup again for the first time since February ’06.
    SANDLER FOR BEST ACTOR. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

  22. Lota says:

    I absolutely loved 40YOV and I did not warm to Funny People.
    Maybe it’s because Seth Rogen and Sandler are the kind of guys I ignore in a pub/bar.
    Leslie Mann is excellent, however, so I think you should be campaigning for her Lex.

  23. Lota says:

    and I heart Eric Bana’s lovely face.

  24. LexG says:

    This movie RULES and I haven’t stopped thinking about it all day.
    I don’t give a shit HOW indulgent it is (and it is), but to anyone who’s ever done standup, this shit is a heartbreaker, plus it has a cameo by PAUL FUCKING REISER YEP YEP HOLY SHIT I didn’t think I’d ever missed REISER on my screen, big or small, but GODDAMN was that cool, and at that awesome ROUNDTABLE with GEORGE WALLACE IN THE HOUSE.
    One of those movies where I TOTALLY understand and acknowledge everyone’s complaints, but that female comic chick Rogen liked was EVERY CHICK AT OPEN MIKE EVER; Sandler was GOD in this movie– Can’t even find words for how AWESOME it was to see him doing the OLD SANDLER VOICE again in those MERMAN clips… Holy shit, that was 1989 all over again… SARAH SILVERMAN… Norm… the Gudonov doctor… Romano/Eminem scene… It’s one of those movies that on OBJECTIVE TERMS I don’t know that I can entirely defend, but will go down as one of my favorite for this year.
    Jonah Hill slays in this, Schwartzman’s sitcom is the funniest shit ever, I was crying like a DOUCHE for half the movie because it sorta depicts both something I tried at in earnest for a long time (11 yrs of standup) with a goal in mind (Sandler’s lifestyle) that plagues me to this day.
    Can’t by any sensible critical criteria say it’s the best movie of the year, but it might just be my favorite.
    I haven’t been this pumped to get back on stage and try again in 3.5 years.
    Love how that limp-dick sweater wearing TURAN has deemed that this doesn’t get standup right, like that humorless, gravel-voiced, no-charisma SWEATERMAN who can’t be ENTERTAINING in a 60-second internet clip in the least knows JACK OR SHIT about being funny.
    FUCK TURAN, Funny People rules.

  25. David Poland says:

    Geoff – Thanks again for an analysis of what you think I think.
    Thing is, I’m not nitpicking this film at all. I am speaking in the broadest sense about it. It does not live up to the courage of its convictions. I came up around comics around the same time as Sandler and Apatow. I have seen the drill. And we have all seen situations like someone going back to their “one true love” when confronted by horror in their lives. It’s not a new idea. But I don’t care. It’s execution, not the idea. There are only six ideas. And I love plenty of movies, like Sideways, where the lead is not very likable.
    The difference, since you asked, between this and Sideways is that the audience feels how pathetic Miles is, stealing for her drawer, just as he surely did when he was 10, 15, 20, and 30. The audience isn’t asked to feel how pathetic Leslie Mann’s character is when she disregards her family when the whim of “the old, richer, boyfriend” turns up again. Apatow protects her character.
    Same with George. Yes, he is pathetic and needy. But what is he in the end? What do you FEEL about the guy?
    How often do you FEEL anything in this movie about the threat of death and rebirth?
    My issue, in the end, is that Apatow protects every character… no one is allowed to be truly unlikable… and not character is really likable… and no one really suffers… and no one really triumphs… they all just go along, living in their velvet-covered hells on earth.
    Boring.
    If you want to reduce it to some quirk that you have decided I have in my personality, I can’t stop you. But the difference between this and good Woody Allen or good Jim Brooks – both of whom make comic dramas about people who are “comfortable” and usually successful, is that their characters are self-aware. This is also true of good Apatow.
    The dramatic tension in Knocked Up is, in part, that Rogen’s character is completely caught up in being aware of being a bad fit with Heigl’s. And the movie falls apart a bit when he forgets that. Conversely, Heigl’s character chooses to have the baby and is fighting with herself about that choice through the whole film, usually in subtext.
    In 40 Year Old Virgin, Carrell is hyper-aware of how odd it is that he got to 40 a virgin… but is still not willing to just throw it away… which is how he got there in the first place. He is not on a circumstantial journey.
    George, in this film, is aware of the box he has built himself into. He didn’t need a brush with death to teach him that, but no matter. Yes, he returns to his “first love” of stand-up. But the movie isn’t really about him returning to stand-up because, a) he’s obviously not 100% out of stand-up or he wouldn’t have the MySpace gig lined up, and b) both his stand-up and his meeting up with old friends are really minor parts of the film.
    But mostly, he goes on the journey with no real awareness other than “I am a successful, unhappy man and I don’t know how to feel anything.” And basically, he wanders through the film, falling into situations, reacting like a successful, unhappy man who doesn’t feel much of anything, but it is not pathetic – which it really is in any real life version of this I have ever seen – because he is the star of the movie.
    Even at the end…
    SPOILER
    …. is that some great gift to Rogen’s character? That George shows up? Really. The lonely, unhappy man shows up and is instantly forgiven for being a unbelievably selfish asshole by the movie and, pretty much, Rogen’s characterm who has had it all given to him and then had it all taken away and shows nothing much for the journey? Wow. Great drama.
    END SPOILER
    You have some kind of deluded idea that I need every emotion to be spoken out loud. I do not. But there is the text of the movie and there is the subtext of the film created by the writer and director.
    Apatow’s great successes have all included character growth. The 40 Yr Old Virgin found real love and sex with it. Both characters in Knocked Up grew and learned real lessons because of that experience. The boys in Superbad talk a lot of Lex-ian shit, but in the end, they are boys who want to be liked by girls. Even the absurdism of Talledega Nights tears down the egomaniac hero so he can be rebuilt as a different kind of silly egomaniac.
    All George clearly gets out of his journey is that he got away with yet another thing. But there is no show at all that he has learned anything, as he keeps behaving the same exact way. And so does Rogen’s character. And so does Mann’s character. And for that matter, so does every other character in the film.
    And that would be fine with me… if the film understood that lack of movement was what it was about. But it does not.
    Sideways, by the way, is all about Miles making a tiny change. And in the end, that’s what he makes. A tiny change. That’s all the movie is about and that is plenty… because it knew that that’s all that it was.

  26. David Poland says:

    PS
    100% SPOILER
    DO NOT READ AT ALL IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW A KEY PLOT POINT
    Had George realized that he wasn’t really interested in having a wife and 2 cute kids overnight… that as sad and lonely as he was, he was making a terrible mistake and was selfishly willing to break up a family that was working pretty good and throwing someone he loved into the cesspool of Hollywood competition and her daughters into a parent-lite life…
    And chose NOT to do it, as opposed to her figuring it out and then her husband figuring out because of some bizarre, inexplicable action by Rogen’s character…
    That would have had me.
    It would have been the first and only sign in the film that he could see and value anything besides himself in the film.
    Even the Leslie Mann character… she didn’t come to her senses… she realized that he would not love her kids the way she did… and then, she STILL goes to the airport to confront her husband… and then he wins her back.
    Selfish People would be the right title. Blind People is what it really is.

  27. Geoff says:

    Dave, you pretty much proved my point with your last two posts – you CLEARLY did not like these characters. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not a “quirk” I ascribed to you, but something that I expressed most of us have. I mean, really, is it news or earthshattering to think that most of us will not enjoy movies featuring characters we did not like??? That’s not really mind-blowing and you spent several paragraphs talking about the actions you did not like from those characters – not the performances, not the writing, not the direction, but pure content.
    And sorry, I’m going to have disagree with you big-time about Sideways – Paul Giamatti’s character goes through NO change at all. He’s a sad-sack who feels sorry for himself at the beginning and pretty much the same at the end – I mean, the dreary music going on that he HAS to remain a teacher, wow, what a horrible fate!
    And we’re supposed to be inspired that he seeks out Virginia Madsen’s character, again? Like he deserves her, at all? This sounds kind of similar to what you expressed, doesn’t it? Because I did not like his character and it hurt the movie for me.
    It’s really no skin off my back that you didn’t like Funny People, but it’s clearly obvious you have some real dislike for those characters and I can see your point.
    However, those flaws you were referring to – they’re all right on display from the director for every one to see. The movie does not sugarcoat them, at all. Otherwise, how would you have noticed them, or me, or most reviewers, for that matter? If you think they’re not worth caring about and where’s the drama in that, fine.
    Jeez, can’t we ever acknowledge how subjective this stuff is?

  28. David Poland says:

    When did I ever say that any feelings one gets from films are not subjective, Geoff?
    I’m sorry you don’t understand Sideways. It’s not about teaching being dreary.
    In many ways, the two films are about the same thing… being the walking dead. One film is actually demanding of the character who is living asleep while the other lets him off the hook utterly.
    So… you think we are supposed to like Sandler’s character? The Leslie Mann character? Do you? Why?
    Do you think we are supposed to like the Giamatti character in Sideways?
    Do you think we are supposed to like the Malcolm McDowell character in A Clockwork Orange?
    Do you think we like Michael Corleone in The Godfathers I & II?
    My criticisms have nothing to do with whether I like the characters. That’s not an issue for me… so long as the film understands what is likable and unlikeable about the characters.

  29. Geoff says:

    SPOILER ALERT
    I honestly don’t see how Apatow lets those characters off the hook, at all – does George seem any happier or more satisfied at the end of the movie? Is there triumphant music indicating this? It’s a small gesture that he makes at the end of the film, nothing more and nothing less. My reaction is that I was still rooting for Rogen’s character and was happy to see him get some help in return, for once. To me, George Simmons was a lost cause, but he was serving a purpose for a character I liked a lot better. I don’t see how Apatom asked any more of the audience than that.
    This is not a moral argument – many people cared about Tony Soprano without actually finding him likeable, same with most of the characters from Pulp Fiction.
    Bringing up Corleone and the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange is a dead argument – we don’t always like the characters who are the nicest. Otherwise, more people would have thought Luke Skywalker was cooler than Han Solo, not the opposite.
    Sideways just didn’t work for me and no, it’s not because I didn’t “understand” it – that is such a cop-out to throw that out. That movie has been be ascribed more depth than I found it to have – the whole last third is basically about the Thomas Haden Church character not learning anything about cheating on his fiance, then doing it again and the chaos that ensues; and Paul Giamatti’s character just sinking into more of a drunken stupor and feeling more sorry for himself after seeing his ex-wire. That’s really all there is – no follow-up scenes wtih the Virginia Madsen character, no follow-up scenes with Church’s character and the marriage he about to embark on. That’s really all there is – sounds to me like THAT movie let its characters off the hook. I would really like to hear about what any character “learned.”
    The sad thing is that Sideways will probably end up grossing more and winning more awards than Funny People – Alexander Payne has the critics in his backpocket and Fox Searchlight is just THAT good at marketing these kinds of films. Hey, it works both ways – I love that they made Slumdog a blockbuster.

  30. David Poland says:

    Did you see the last shot of the film, Geoff.
    I agree with you about likability. You brought it up, not me.
    As for Funny People, you are right… George doesn’t grow… he is a lost cause. But it is a movie about George, not Seth Rogen.
    I am comfortable with you connecting with Rogen’s character and liking the movie for that, much as Lex identifying quite specifically with Rogen’s character is fine. The reason we all feel things in movies because of how we personally connect (or on the flip, disconnect) is what it is. Film criticism is not, in my opinion, about that.
    Your argument, from the start, was that I was making it personal. But I’m not. As I said in the video review, I am somewhat ambivalent. I didn’t dislike the experience of sitting through 2.5 hours of this film. There are many funny and interesting moments. But seen in perspective, the film misses… and as best as I can surmise – especially after digging deeper in with you and others – the problem I feel it has is with follow-through.
    And you like it better than me.
    Great.
    And no, Searchlight is not that much better at selling a film like Sideways. That film succeeded as it did for a couple of reasons. 1) it fell right into the wine craze moment and became zeitgeist shorthand and 2) it made people feel things, positive and negative… feel them strongly.
    And again… Giamatti knocking on Madsen’s door at the end is his growth. He moves from A to B… after all that. But he does move. He is not a lost cause.

  31. Geoff says:

    I know we’re getting into semantics, now, but ALL opinions are personal, it’s not a gibe at you, Dave. I watched your video and read your comments – this was not a cold, removed distillation of the characters and the technique.
    “Selfish People would be the right title. Blind People is what it really is.”
    You presented a genuine dislike for some of the characters; am I crazy to think that? I am still pretty comfortable saying that your dislike for these characters hurt the movie for you.
    As for Sideway, what did he learn, really? He wanted the Madsen character for the whole length of the movie and he STILL wanted her in the end – he was desperate, still down on everything, and he’s seeking her out.
    Pretty much something that just about 99% of the guys is his state would. Moving from point A to point B would been the Giamatti character actually doing something to EARN the respect of Madsen’s character in the end. Hey, you like the movie and you like the character, no great shakes.
    I’m just using it as an example to illustrate my point – when you’re rooting for charactes in a movie, chances are you’re digging the movie. And when you’re not, vice versa…..

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“I wanted to make you love a murderer. There’s no way of redeeming him. He’s a drunk and a killer. He killed at least seven people (that we know of). But there were reasons he was a bad guy. He was surrounded by evil in those days. A lot of people were killed building modern Florida—modern everywhere. Watson had plenty of opportunities to see how rough those guys were playing and he thought he could do it too. At least he rationalized it that way. He had the devil beaten out of him and became a very dangerous guy. And he couldn’t handle his liquor, which is one of the worst aspects of him. And he went crazy. Understanding how that happened is useful, I think. There’s no reason any one of us couldn’t be Edgar Watson.”
~ Peter Mathiessen On Writing “Killing Mister Watson”

 

“Objects and their manufacture are inseparable, you understand a product if you understand how it’s made.”
~ Jony Ive