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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB Monday

40 Responses to “BYOB Monday”

  1. Glamourboy says:

    Found myself rewatching Romy and Michelle’s High School reunion lately…funny but still not a great film. But I’m wondering whatever happened to Mira Sorvino. I’m not usually privy to all of the backstage drama…but she was excellent in Mighty Aphrodite, and good in several other films….and now she is nowhere. Bad luck? Hard to work with? Just curious….

  2. Glamourboy says:

    I also saw PLEASE GIVE over the weekend and was really impressed. What a wonderfully textured film–great characters….great performances…Catherine Keener was just wonderful. I doubt it will be remembered by awards time but it might be my favorite movie of the year so far.

  3. CaptainZahn says:

    Sorvino was never really in any big hits. That was one factor in the decline of her career. Another is the fact that she always seemed to have a chip on her shoulder about making sure that people knew she was intelligent because she became known for playing ditzy blondes.

  4. Wrecktum says:

    Mira Sorvino is a working actor. That can’t be said for most 40-something actresses in Hollywood. Good for her for maintaining a career.

  5. Glamourboy says:

    I’m glad she’s a working actor…I just meant that considering that she won an oscar, why isn’t she doing the lead rom com thing…or why didn’t she get her own sitcom….she’s such a winning actress.

  6. David Poland says:

    MIra Sorvino tanked her career in record time by being a major, major diva without any box office weight to make it worth putting up with.
    She won an Oscar in 1996 and was done as a name by 2000. She took some time off to be a mom and launched a mini-comeback last year. If she works her ass off, does a bunch of small roles, and gets a rep for being easy to work with and talented, she may have a career 2nd act. If not, not.
    I have nothing against the woman. She’s been very pleasant to me over the years. But she earned a heavy rep and she’s going to have to live that down before she gets real opportunities again.

  7. CaptainZahn says:

    I liked her in Romy & Michele, but I don’t find her to be very convincing in dramatic roles. Maybe it’s the lilt in her voice.
    She looked lovely on a recent ep of Martha Stewart’s show.

  8. EthanG says:

    Shia LaBeouf has emerged as the Mandy Moore of Hollywood this last week…admitting that many of his biggest hits (Indy 4, Tranny 2) were garbage. Good for him I guess?

  9. chris says:

    Where is Mandy Moore the Mandy Moore of? And I say good for him, for sure. He’s exactly right about many of the reasons that movie was bad.

  10. christian says:

    ROMY AND MICHELLE is a guilty pleasure – it’s sweet and witty. Sorvino and Kudrow make a good team.
    I’ll always love Sorvino in MIGHTY APHRODITE where she manages to make Woody Allen invisible in their first scene.

  11. LexG says:

    And how about that weird era where Sorvino was dating Tarantino, so he was picking her roles for her (Replacement Killers, Mimic, etc)?

  12. urmomsdealer says:

    I feel like Sorvino’s choices have mostly proved smarter with time. Romy and Michele, Mimic, and Summer of Sam weren’t appreciated upon release, but their reputations have improved over the years (every gay guy who was high school-aged in the late ’90s can quote R&M with ease).
    I also like the story of how she stood up for Gullermo del Toro when the Weinsteins tried to fire him from Mimic – might be bullshit, but it’s cool if it’s true.

  13. Jerry Colvin says:

    Ah, Mimic. That’s the one that convinced me that Josh Brolin would make a good Clark Kent / Superman, until a certain know-it-all told me he was too washed up to garner such a role.

  14. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Chris – Mandy Moore was one of the 2nd tier pop princesses of the late 90s, behind Britney Spears and Christina Aguillera and about on par with pre-“Newlyweds” Jessica Simpson.
    She’s since gone on record stating she’s embarrassed of the songs she recorded in that phase, and has offered to give refunds to anyone who personally approaches her with her early albums.

  15. Triple Option says:

    This is certainly disappointing to hear about Mira. Although I do remember hearing something like this in the past, like a good 8-10 yrs ago. I remember she was in some movie w/Mariah Carrey and apparently they got into it. From what I heard/remembered of the time, Mira was pissed at Mariah for being all diva, strolling in late for call times. I thought good for Mira. While her father was far from anonymous, he still instilled a professional working actor mentality. Have your lines down, hit your mark, get to make early, etc. Mira, at that time would be the perfect one to say hey, look, this ain’t the studio, you can’t wait til your voice warms up, we gotta be out here on time or there’s penalties to pay. The UPM prolly wouldn’t be allowed to address her directly, so I thought it was cool that Mira would stand up like a good leader in the clubhouse. Assuming that was what much of the hubbub was about.
    I’ve liked a lot of choices she’s made, even if the films themselves weren’t that good, Although even at the time I thought it was a bit pre-mature when people were saying she was going to be the preeminent actress of her age and have an armful of Statues by the time she’s 35. I would’ve liked to have seen her more. I didn’t know if she’d been working much or not.
    If I were her peeps, I don’t know what kind of role I’d have her go for. Would it be advantageous to go for like the “lead” role of an ensemble single camera comedy on cable? Some small quirky indie? Or maybe a smaller role in a summer actioner and hope she catches fire/interest that way?

  16. Stella's Boy says:

    I believe Shia is doing some image rehabilitation following his public, ah, problems (drugstore arrest, late night car accident). Maybe brutal honesty is part of the process.

  17. chris says:

    I’m aware of that, Foamy. My point is that she’s as “Hollywood” as SLB is.

  18. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Fair enough – from the context, it reads like Ethan was saying SLB was apologizing for his Hollywood garbage where MM was apologizing for her Bubblegum Pop garbage. So to answer your question – Mandy Moore is the Mandy Moore of Bubblegum Pop.

  19. Krillian says:

    Rented Legion over the weekend. Wasn’t even fun on the B-pulp level I was hoping for. Probably the worst movie of 2010 I’ve seen. Dennis Quaid is going the opposite direction of Jeff Bridges.

  20. Stella's Boy says:

    I watched about 50 minutes of Pandorum over the weekend. Quaid doesn’t have a lot of screen time or much to do in that stretch, but he’s pretty bad all the same. The movie isn’t much better. Hardly anyone knows how to pace a horror movie anymore. The boo scares/loud noises are piled on from beginning to end and the creatures are shown 10 minutes in. No building dread or mystery. It’s very unfortunate.

  21. Telemachos says:

    I just watched PANDORUM too (seems like it’s been mentioned several times in the last few days… perhaps because it just hit the Netflix instant queue?) I thought there was actually an interesting idea at the core of the movie, and one you don’t often see in a science-fiction movie… but yeah, the pacing was pretty bad and the “scares” got really tiresome after the first 15 minutes. Would’ve been much better had it not tried for the horror route and got by on mystery and quiet exploration. And really, at the end of the day there wasn’t much need for all those Stan Winston prosthetics running around and screaming.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Yeah, Pandorum was pretty terrible. One of those murkily-shot movies where people run through halls incessantly and nothing very interesting happens.
    Still I’ll take it over Surrogates, which was just massively stupid, and had an even more interesting premise that it botched even more fully.

  23. Sam says:

    Sounds like a classic case of people getting what they asked for. It was not many years ago that it seemed to me like every other review/comment about whatever latest horror-thriller was “It takes too long to get to the good stuff.”
    In some cases, those criticisms might have even been fair. Either way, Hollywood has heard the public. Too bad “the good stuff” isn’t so good when the stage isn’t properly set for it.
    I think horror is probably even more delicate than comedy, in that it requires just the right state of mind and viewing atmosphere to work. A movie that would otherwise enthrall and terrify you can be instantly rendered powerless if, at a critical moment, the phone rings, or someone cracks a joke, or the cat pukes up a hairball.
    No movie can completely control the viewing environment, but they should at least *try* to set the tone before jumping in.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    I’m a pretty big horror buff and I don’t recall an outcry in the community for getting to the good stuff quicker. Maybe old age is causing my memory to falter. I’d say that going back at least to 2000 horror geeks complained about the prevalence of cheap boo scares and other such tactics in the genre.

  25. LexG says:

    MANDY MOORE “CANDY” is one of the greatest pieces of music ever. Still gets tons of play in my NANO; Big Mandy Moore fan, because personality-wise she is IDEAL in her awkward, demure POLITENESS… but lately she looks too ORANGE or something. HOW TO DEAL was the peak of her greatness. GOOD MOVIE.
    Also: Shia has nothing to apologize for, unless it’s “I’m sorry I’ve starred in four of the GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE and took the roles from other actors and have a better life than ANYONE ON THE PLANET, excuse me while I make out with AWESOME DEMURE CAREY MULLIGAN while I count my money.”
    BOW TO SHIA.

  26. Cadavra says:

    Once again, it’s “the kids.” If something doesn’t happen in the first five minutes, they bail. Waiting is for losers. Many years ago, I set up a screening of Harryhausen’s 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH for a bunch of creative execs who were thinking of remaking it. About 20 minutes in, they all got up and started leaving. “Where are you going?” I asked. One replied, “We’re bored. Where’s the monster?” Me: “It’s coming. They’re building suspense.” She: “Fuck suspense.” And they were gone.

  27. And why does every creature/CGI freak thing have to be that pale off-white color?? Is it just so they can show up in the dark or is it like, the cheapest color out there for CGI? Sick of it!

  28. christian says:

    Ouch, Cadavra.

  29. Michael J Bassett says:

    In my experience with horror the pacing often gets messed around with after the testing process. You’ll put together a nice, measured build towards the reveal/monster/shock/whatever at the start of the movie and then try and create a kind of momentum that isn’t just rushing from one ‘shock’ to the next. BUT when they hand out the cards at the test screenings, one of the questions is always ‘was the film slow in places’? Of course, the answer is always ‘yes’ (especially if the audience hasn’t paid and know they’re expected to have an opinion) and this puts producers and distributors into a panic because they think that’s bad. It isn’t – it’s called pacing. You can’t have fast without slow. So everyone goes back, shoves some more horror in the first act and then think that’s fixed everything. Maybe they’re right but it never feels good to me.
    But the other thing to bear in mind is that many modern horror movies are not especially well written or performed. They’re only about the horror. Since it’s the only thing they have to offer maybe, they really should just get to the main course and skip the starter. If it’s got great writing, directing and acting it can and should make the build up as interesting as any of the horrors on the screen and, additionally, make the subsequent horror and fear all the more palpable. I’d suggest that the firt twenty minutes of the first Jeepers Creepers movie is about as suspensful and nerve-wracking as anything in recent(ish) mainstream horror. It descends into silly monster-killing-teen mayhem eventually but has built up such great tension at the start that you forgive it much of that.

  30. Stella's Boy says:

    Is this the same Michael Bassett who directed Wilderness and Deathwatch (not to mention Solomon Kane, which I have not seen yet)? Those two are very solid horror efforts that I caught on DVD and enjoyed a lot. It’s not surprising that the test screening process is partly to blame. Do these idiots make any effort to test them with the viewers most likely to pay to see them?

  31. christian says:

    Imagine ALIEN opening today: “Dude, NOTHING happens for like 30 minutes! And you barely see the Alien!”

  32. Joe Leydon says:

    Imagine Psycho opening today: “So when does somebody get killed, for cryin’ out loud?”

  33. leahnz says:

    i don’t know, i agree to an extent.
    of course the building of character – and thus suspense as character(s) we are supposed to care about are put in jeopardy – is critical to effective horror (much like action) and there is certainly a powerful case for what you DON’T necessarily see that is instead conjured up in the viewer’s imagination by the film-makers that can make a horror movie truely special, there are plenty of examples of terrific horror movies with hard-out/explicit/revealing first acts that maintain the horror, are well-paced and manage to build character and suspense with momentum to a decent climax thru consistent depictions of violence/horror/carnage from early on — seven, the thing (carpenter), nightmare on elm st (craven), bride of frankenstein, 28 days later, hills have eyes, serpent & the rainbow, wolfen, dawn of the dead (snyder), army of darkness, american werewolf, wrong turn just a few that come to mind, but i’m sure there are many more examples if thinking caps were donned.
    as usual it’s not so much what you do but the way you do it that matters. hard out horror from the first act doesn’t necessarily mean ‘bad horror’, but requires a deft hand by the film-makers to pull off because an ‘early start’ of sorts makes character, story, plot and pacing all the more important to keep the viewer engaged (and keeping the horror fresh and interesting rather than succumbing to the temptation to keep ‘topping’ oneself so that each horror sequence is more outlandish and silly than the preceding one is another serious pitfall may mediocre horror directors succumb to in this regard)
    (‘test screenings’ are the devil and should be outlawed)

  34. Michael J Bassett says:

    I think Leahnz offers some great examples. And, of course, horror should damn well be that from fade in to fade out but that can be achieved in any number of ways depending on what you’re going for.
    I don’t hate test screenings per se. Though I hate going to them. Sometimes they’ll reveal a truth that no one wants to admit. Smart film makers know how to read the audience and get everything they need without pouring over the cards. Useful on occasion but shouldn’t overwhelm the process.
    And yes, Stella’s boy – guilty as charged. I’ve been coming to this board for years but never thought to post before now.

  35. leahnz says:

    that’s interesting, michael j basset, just curious and naturally you are not obliged to answer if it causes you any conflict/misgivings, but were your films test screened (with or without your consent, i don’t know how much control you have over your final cuts) prior to completion and if so, altered at all accordingly?
    my problem with trying to ‘read’ test screening audiences is that it’s so random, a bunch of individuals gathered together can have one dynamic/reaction to a film, and another audience can have a completely different reaction/take based on so many variables depending on the day, total chaos theory, not to mention that individual subjective opinions are just that and vary wildly. this is why i think it’s a huge mistake to alter a film based on test screenings, it’s just a stab in the dark based on a reaction that may or may not be indicative of general audience reactions, resulting in a watered-down final product in which (usually) the bean-counters are trying to please ‘everybody’, which is, of course, impossible. film-makers are far better off staying true to their instincts and ‘vision’, making the movie they want to see, rather than pandering to what some random viewers reactions/suggestions, that’s my experience anyway. but i can see the case for gauging an audience’s reaction to see if the film is effective in its intent…i guess i just don’t think it works.

  36. leahnz says:

    that thought of mine was a bit vague, i’d add for clarity’s sake:
    “film-makers are far better off staying true to their instincts and ‘vision’, making the movie they want to see”
    and trusting that their connection to/integrity in rendering the material to the best of their ability and telling the story they want to tell their way is what viewers will connect to/feel/engage with, rather than pandering to some random viewers reaction/suggestions to guide the material.
    that’s more what i meant to say!

  37. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    ” It isn’t – it’s called pacing. You can’t have fast without slow. So everyone goes back, shoves some more horror in the first act and then think that’s fixed everything. ”
    Not even the first act. They like to jam a pre-credits kill if they can which was warm and reassuring to me as a regular fixture in the 80s slashers but comes off so annoying and lazy in the contemporary horror film. Most of the examples Leah mentions have great setups, I think its more the ones that have that annoying offscreen/ fade to black kill that makes me want to eat handfuls of pubic hair like the Beast in Heat.
    I think testing is absolutely fine if retarded execs are taken out of the equation. It’s a necessity if you have kazillions at stake and it’s why Spielberg tests the crap out of his films. Blame Universal for the JAWS sneaks ‘n’ tweaks for the state of things today.
    Take the smart and dump the rest. Michael is spot on, the weakest link in data analysis is the way the information is collated. Forcing people to make an answer is no help at all.
    Wilderness was good fun and I hope Mr Bassett is a Southern Comfort fan too.
    Leah a Wrong Turn fan. Well Snap that.

  38. leahnz says:

    hopefully good snap (snap has like 8 meanings that i know of, i get confused). ‘wrong term’ is a rather lovely little throwback and the apex of my eliza non-lesbian girl crush, i like her she’s purty (she and harrington have good chemistry, and jeremy sisto totally reminds me of my cousin. some tense moments, and the stuff in the trees esp. is really rather well played. plus the hillbillies are BONZA. chop chop)
    obviously i’m a hard-line pooh-pooher of test-screening as film-making by committee, having had one personal bad experience with a movie i’d worked on and having heard of others, but just ftr when i refer to the practice i mean strictly ‘the public/people off the street’-type test audiences, which is what i take the meaning of the term ‘test screening’ to be, not mates/associates/colleagues/producers/executives/ex-husbandsorwives etc watching a workprint and giving their opinion, perhaps the term has a broader meaning than that to which i am accustomed. anyway ‘people’ are stupid, you should never listen to them.
    “It’s a necessity if you have kazillions at stake”
    that’s an interesting point. presumably ‘broader appeal’ is the goal there to make more cash, but the irony is once the film ‘goes into committe’ or so to speak usually in the editing process when it can go wrong and get watered-down and muddled in an attempt to please (and in Spielberg’s case go gooey and twee at times i’m guessing), the film can lose the singular vision and fragile form/charisma/essence that may have actually given it the edge to rise above the fray to become not only financially viable but truely distinctive as well. as a general rule the fewer people to fuck around with the final cut the better. i know there are many fine directors that eschew the ‘testing process’ and rightly so imho, but you have to have a bit of power to wield that axe for a start. sometimes you have no choice)
    (jaw’s ass would appear to have lucked out, that whole production just sounds like a bit of a wing and prayer fuckarow that came together so beautifully in the final rinse, i guess proof that sneaks & tweeks CAN help — but just because something can work doesn’t mean it usually does)

  39. yancyskancy says:

    Lex: Mandy Moore’s guest starring in tonight’s season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. Much as I love her, I’m not sure I can watch, having given up on the show a couple of seasons back. Tempting though.

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One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
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