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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Stupid Lawsuit Of The Week!™

No embed feature available from WDIV TV, but here’s the link to their on-air story

Some wacky woman (Sarah Deming) in the Detroit area is suing Film District and the local theater chain, claiming that the trailer for Drive made it look like a part of the Fast & Furious series and instead was dark and nasty and even anti-Semitic. OY!

“Drive bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film… having very little driving in the motion picture.”

Love it! So incredibly stupid.

ADD, Saturday 3p – The Actual Trailer In Question

Also…
DRIVE Lawsuit 2: A Critic & A Lawyer Walk Into A Bar…
DRIVE Lawsuit 3: Witness For The Screenwriter

48 Responses to “Stupid Lawsuit Of The Week!™”

  1. Triple Option says:

    Gutless coward, not willing to go on camera. If you really believed in what you’re saying you’d want to rally support for your cause. I hate to give this any merit at all but there was nothing in the Drive trailer that said it would be like Fast & Furious. I actually was expecting some better chase scenes but it did have at least one so the whole bait-n-switch premise of the suit is gone out the window.

    I didn’t realize how much of the movie was shown in the trailer. Man, if someone should sue it should be over spoilers galore. I wonder if this lady thinks she’s gonna get a few grand to go away? I’d be curious to know if she’s one of those people who files suits every time the wind blows. I actually met a whackjob about 10 years ago who sued her church, a grocery store, a gardener who worked across the street, her building mgmt firm, her former employer and tried to sue the city council for them cutting her off at meetings. They couldn’t get her committed because she never seemed to pose a threat to herself or anyone. The car she drove was like a mobile advertisement for the show Hoarders. I have no idea where she got her money. Most of the suits involved lawyers. Who she really needed to sue was her atty for taking her money to file all those frivolous suits.

    They really got to crack down on law firms drumming up these class action suits just to rack up billable hours for the firm. Even when they know they won’t win or their case doesn’t have merit, they’ll think there’s an insurance company who’ll pay on the matter, if not their own clients themselves. Talk about entitlement. People think they have one bad day they should be compensated for it. What a nation of soft little wussies we’ve become. Get divorced after 18 mos. Shoot up school or office when someone looks at you crosseyed. Slander people on website or via texts. Sue an airlines or restaurant when someone calls your behavior or dress inappropriate. Demand an apology from people you don’t even know. But they’ll blame someone for the state of the economy as being the root of all their unhappiness. How can we stop the spread of misery???

  2. Excitable lawsuit aside, she broadly has a point about time-wasting, misleading trailers that pull a bait-and-switch making the movie look like it’s about something that’s really just a subplot/ marginal.

  3. Tom says:

    My God but there are some dumb motherfuckers in this world. Let’s hope the movie studio counter sues her for harassment or something.

  4. Drew McWeeny says:

    Amy, a trailer is designed to do one thing: get you in the theater. If you are an adult in this country who actually thinks advertising owes you anything in the way of honesty or clarity, then you’re a stone-cold idiot. If you don’t get by now that movie trailers are a hustle, willing to do or say anything to get that $15 out of your wallet, then you deserve to get taken, again and again and again.

  5. David Poland says:

    I just added – which I should have posted from the start – the actual trailer… which is very hard to mistake for a Fast & Furious ad. There is a quick shot of backwards driving. But aside from that…

    And I do love the idea that having a jew playing the bad guy is anti-Semitic. Brooks is just so good, you have to hate his entire religion.

  6. Joe Leydon says:

    Years ago, a guy called me at The Houston Post and demanded that I personally refund the money he, his wife and another couple paid to see a film I had praised and they hated. (Specifically: Joe vs. the Volcano.) His argument: They had gone to the film solely on the strength of my recommendation, and felt I was obliged to repay them because they didn’t have a great time at the movies. At first, I thought this was some kind of joke — either a crank call, or a prank by a friend or colleague. When I realized the dude was serious, I told him “there’s no way in hell that’s going to happen.” This made him furious — he said that I was using “obscene” language, and he wanted to talk with my editor. So I transferred the call to my editor, who, I must admit, handled the guy somewhat more diplomatically than I did. Indeed, he even promised — while I was in earshot, trying very hard not to burst into laughter — that he “certainly would have a talk” with me about my “use of obscenity while talking with readers.” After he hung up, we both started laughing. We did agree, though, that next time, I’d probably do well to be a bit more polite, because otherwise — yes, you guessed it — we agreed that some nutjob might actually sue me, and the newspaper, for causing them to endure an unpleasant experience.

    So I cannot help but wonder what the folks at Film District said to each other when they first heard about this lawsuit.

  7. yancyskancy says:

    I’m gonna sue every studio that uses the phrase “Critics agree!” in their trailers. ‘Cause that’s a blatant lie!

  8. Triple Option says:

    I get the point of Amy G’s post/position. It’s not up to the viewer to be able to analyze a trailer and know what’s truthful display about the movie. The audience looks to the dist company as a position of trust. Trying to completely exploit expectation is a violation of this trust and there are laws against that.

    Despite its slowed pace and dearth of action sequences, it would be a reasonable assumption that someone who liked the movie Fast & Furious would be more apt to like the movie that one who goes out to see Merchant/Ivory films.

    WoM can kill a film not because of the film’s relative lack of qualtiy but if people are expecting one thing and get another, the disappointment would overshadow what otherwise could otherwise be a fine cinematic experience.

    There’s no real way to combat this. There doesn’t seem to be a blanket offender of trailer exploits. It’d be easier to create a backlash against one particular studio or distributor. I’d be happy if ship the responsible individuals be shipped off to Singapore to be caned. There’s always going to be those cases where a film is different than what you expect. Sometimes you end up pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, it’s neither better nor worse, just different. This, if not the creation of a total loon, just seems to be bitterness in search of a home. I’ve been there before but involving the courts is selfish waste of resources to fix a subjective problem of an imperfect world.

  9. Stephen Cross says:

    Tom is exactly right. This woman’s a fucking nutjob.

  10. Stephen Cross says:

    Ive been trying to find this bitch, but this is the only thing I could find of her.

    http://soundcloud.com/sarahgwyyn

  11. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Excellent – posting her information on websites will surely show her who the real nutjob is around here!

  12. The Pop View says:

    What’s especially hilarious to me is that the trailer embedded above actually does a very good job of communicating the plot and tone of the movie. I actually had seen none of the trailers in advance and my wife and I were caught off-guard by the violence of the film (I was okay with it, but my wife was not). Had I seen this trailer, I would have known what I was in for.

  13. Martin H. Leaf says:

    David:

    I find a little hypocrisy and irony in your treatment of this case.

    You and many others seem to scoff at Ms. Deming relying on a trailer to judge the film. However, the material you post about the lawsuit was itself a “trailer” regarding the actual lawsuit.

    You also assume she does not understand or appreciate an arthouse film.

    Perhaps you do not understand the film, or maybe you have not seen the film. First, of course you know that there are two bad Jews, not one.

    Let’s start with a specific. The lawsuit claims that the manner in which Shannon is murdered is part of the film’s Jew hating. The lawsuit also claims, in part, that the trailer and advertising did not alert the plaintiff to such Jew hating.

    You as a film critic, with an understanding of the underlying art, should be able to refute this. With all due respect, I welcome your response for reasons including the fact that you seem to be well respected in the field, based on what I know a this time.

    Here is the link to the amended complaint:

    http://media.cleveland.com/ent_impact_movies/other/FDAmend1pt1.pdf

    Here is a link to the MCPA:

    http://michigan.gov/documents/consumer_protection_act_54984_7.htm

  14. yancyskancy says:

    The lawsuit still sounds ridiculous to me. Sure, the film’s main villains are Jewish. But the plaintiff extrapolates a lot of questionable “facts” from this. As for the supposedly misleading trailer, a two-minute ad almost by definition is limited in how effectively it can sell a film. Nonetheless, the shots in the trailer were all from the film. DRIVE is very visual, and it isn’t particularly talky. Should the trailer have been 90% shots of Gosling sharing glances with other characters, interspersed with a driving shot or two? Anyway, whatever happened to caveat emptor? One trailer is not the only resource out there for anyone contemplating buying a ticket. Plenty of reviews, clips and interviews available even before the film opened.

    From the amended complaint: “…DRIVE was an extremely graphically violent film, including a slow motion depiction of a young woman’s head being blown off.”

    I could be wrong, but I don’t remember this being in slo-mo. In fact, I think it happened so fast I didn’t even particularly register the gore. Am I misremembering this, is the plaintiff?

  15. Drew McWeeny says:

    Martin Leaf…

    If you are who you say you are, and you are the attorney who filed this lawsuit, I hope you are disbarred. You are a grotesque abuser of the system, and this sort of lawsuit isn’t even absurd in a way that can be laughed at. It’s repulsive and stupid. I read every word of the papers you filed, and I am shocked at the willful misrepresentation of both fact and opinion in the lawsuit.

    If you truly believe that this is a film designed to inspired hatred towards Jews, you are feeble-minded. Your examples in your legal paperwork are fabricated or delusional. You demonstrate no ability to parse the meaning of either text or subtext, and your client comes across as a thin-skinned simpleton who was compelled to hand over ticket money based on assumptions that had no basis in fact.

    No one makes a person go see a movie. If your client chose to buy a ticket based on a trailer, your client should also have consulted critical reactions and even interviews with the cast and crew if they were worried about the content of the film, which was released with an R rating. There was a specific content warning attached to that R, and as an adult walking into a theater for a film with that rating, there was no reason to expect that they would not see violence or bloodshed or sexuality or any other adult content.

    This is pathetic, and Martin Leaf is an incompetent glory hound. Nothing more.

  16. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Like what questionable facts are extrapolated ?

  17. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Drew:

    A lot of passion and hate in your words, but very little solid argument. Could you give a specific ?

    Oh, and where in the complaint does it say “designed to inspire hatred” ?

    The complaint is specific in many ways. If you are right, then you should be specific.

    That should not be so hard to do, with all of the “willful misrepresentation of fact and opinion”. Name one.

  18. anghus says:

    Perhaps youre familiar with Martin’s most famous case, The People vs The Neverending Story.

  19. The Big Perm says:

    Life is really hard for stupid people.

  20. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Anghus, I hear that alot.

  21. anghus says:

    yeah, i can’t imagine a Simpsons joke from 1993 hasn’t crossed your path at least once in the last 18 years.

    Still, it made me laugh.

  22. The Big Perm says:

    Good thing people weren’t so insanely sue-happy back in Roger Corman days when they’d put random explosions or monsters in their trailers.

  23. yancyskancy says:

    Mr. Leaf: I just don’t see how the mere fact that the film’s villains are Jewish gets us to the lawsuit’s broad assumptions that the filmmakers intended a negative portrayal of all Jews or an allegory about the Jewish “threat.” Regardless of ethnicity, villains in such films tend to be murderous, scheming, superior and money-hungry.

    In the interest of building a case, maybe you start to see what you’re looking for. In order to see a “perverse baptism” or a “‘skinhead’ mask,” you have to accept the premise that the filmmakers are invoking “Christian religious symbolism.” Most of us just saw a seaside confrontation and a guy wearing a mask intended to be worn by a stuntman doubling for a movie star. At least you put “skinhead” in quotation marks.

    There are other things that seem open to interpretation rather than cut and dried, such as whether Bernie reveres his knife collection “in the manner of a religious icon” or whether a character “allows” himself to be stabbed.

    Some of this just seems like grabbing at straws to me.

  24. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Yancyskancy:

    Jewish villains are ok, and they have been in many movies, like any other ethnic group. But here is a challenge. Name one movie where an ethnic group of characters are all evil, and embody their ethnic stereotypes (historical films excepted where there is historical justification).

    The treatment in Bugsy for example, was not racist. Hyman Roth was also not treated in a Jew hating fashion, even though both were gangsters, like Don Corleone.

    As for the allegory, this is an art film. You can’t merely dismiss allegory or metaphor because then, it is no longer an art film.

    Have you ever seen anyone murdered by slicing the brachial artery in film before? And then the focus by the camera on the whole knife ritual (Hint: Guns with silencers are used)?

    Bernie is a Jew , murdering in a manner very similar to the Jewish ritual manner. The justification used by the Jewish community in Scandinavia, to not outlaw Kosher slaughter, was that the method was “quick and painless”, basically Bernie’s words to Shannon. It may be a coincidence, but too many coincidences become suspicious, and that is why it is very unlikely it is a coincidence.

    That knife used is very similar to a Jewish ritual slaughter knife.

    The scene where the crucifix “frames” driver has been noticed by many people.

    Finally, study the “baptism” carefully. The fog, the strobe lighthouse light, the focal distance of the camera, all point to something epic and religious.

    The music is also about overcoming oppression.

    Now a question for you. Do you see any “art” in the movie? Allegory ? Metaphor ?

    In any event, it is a long way from what Nikki Finke described as marketing that promoted a “Fast and Furious ripoff”.

  25. Drew McWeeny says:

    The first fact you have wrong in your paperwork is when you called Nikki Finke “respected” or a “film critic.”

    And the more you use the phrase “art film,” the less you seem to know about movies in general. Mainstream popcorn movies frequently contain subtext and symbolism and themes that play out in drama, and I’ve seen plenty of “art movies” that are emptier than anything at the multiplex.

    The most basic point in your lawsuit, that the trailer misrepresented the movie, is simply false. At no point in the trailer do they specifically claim that this is a movie for fans of “Fast and Furious,” and if anything, I think the trailer is too explicit about the film’s story and many of the major moments.

    At any rate, I’ll be writing about this at length, and I look forward to you continuing to blather without any point or merit, Martin.

  26. Drew McWeeny says:

    You know a lawyer is both serious and dedicated to seeing justice served properly when he’s posting lawsuit paperwork to random movie websites.

    Fight that good fight, scumbag.

  27. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I guess I’ll have to be the one to ask the dumb question: In a country where there is a First Amendment, how can anyone be sued for saying anything about any group in a film? Well, OK, strike that: Anyone can file a lawsuit. But how does one expect to win such a lawsuit?

  28. The Big Perm says:

    He’s not expecting a win, they want a payout.

  29. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Joe:
    A movie in America can contain just about anything, in general. That is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the MCPA, which generally prohibits certain types of false or misleading advertising for certain consumer goods and services, applies to the marketing and advertising of Drive.

    The remedy is actual damages, or 250.00, whichever is greater, class action if appropriate, and injunctive relief, if appropriate.

    The “Jew hating” is in the pleadings, as something in the movie, not known to the plaintiff in advance, not reasonably knowable in advance, that if known would have caused the ticket not to be purchased, coupled with the fact that the movie was advertised and promoted as something else, according to the allegations in the pleadings.

    The injunctive relief requested would be some kind of warning.

    And McWeeny, I am requesting that you be banned from this site. Your offensive foul language degrades this otherwise great web site.

  30. LexG says:

    MARTIN H. LEAF.

    This is a shtick, right?

    RIGHT?

  31. Foamy Squirrel says:

    A schtick that can be yours for only 80% of your future settlement.

  32. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Drive promotes violence against Jews? Maybe Scream 4 promotes violence against dumb, lazy, promiscuous teenagers?

    If I had never heard about this lawsuit, or, even better, if it had never been filed in the first place, I would have completely forgotten that Brooks and Perlman are Jewish in the movie. Now that I think about it I can remember it being mentioned, but barely, and it hardly seems all that important. What if they were both Latino Catholics? Would a similar lawsuit be justified? I didn’t care that the two main criminals are Jewish and I can’t imagine anyone else did either. Criminals come in all shapes in sizes. Drive does not communicate that these criminals are Jewish and therefore other Jews deserve to be persecuted. That’s one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard.

    10 or so years ago I remember getting into a heated argument with a guy about Seven and Saw (yes it was a stupid argument). He insisted that Jigsaw was deep and profound and complex while John Doe was lame and dumb and boring. It cemented that anyone can read anything into a movie. They’re open to individual interpretation.

    And Drive’s ads were hardly grossly misleading. It was clear from the start that it’s rated R, and the reasons for the rating are clearly stated.

    I just wasted 5 minutes of my life tying that. How long until this is laughed out of court?

  33. Joe Leydon says:

    Martin: OK, let me make sure I understand the reasoning here. The claimant says that she saw a trailer for Drive, and was thereby influenced to see the movie. When she saw the movie, she found it to be (a) not a Fast & Furious style action drama, which she claims the trailer led her to expect, and (b)offensively anti-Semitic in its depiction of Jewish villains. So, in essence, she is basing her lawsuit on the claim that Drive is a prima facie example of blood libel against Jews — yet she is not suing because of the movie’s content, but rather because she was not adequately warned about it. Correct?

  34. yancyskancy says:

    The only white males in DRIVE are criminals. The only Latinos in the film are criminals except the little boy. The movie only has about seven roles of any significant screen time, period.

  35. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    True yancy. As a white male I find the advertising misleading in that it didn’t communicate to me that all the white males would be criminals, and therefore the movie would advocate violence against white males. I’m going to sue. Know a good lawyer?

  36. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Paul:

    You make some very interesting points. I can address them. The US Holocaust memorial museum starts off with Nazi Germany’s media’s depiction of Jews, which was dehumanizing. Why is that important? Because before a group can be persecuted, or its members physically harmed, dehumanization is necessary.
    Keep in mind Jews still are by far the biggest victims of hate crimes per capita in America. It is far worse in other parts of the world.

    You may not have noticed the dehumanization or even the Jewish aspect, because you are probably not susceptible to hate or bigotry, and I believe most Americans are not. But that is not true of all Americans, and especially in other countries where the movie is playing.
    Most if not all of the false negative Jewish stereotypes were manifest by the Jews in the movie. The link to the complaint lists them.

    Keep in mind two important things: Only the Jews, or those that the Jews employed (Cook), were unambiguously evil. Everyone else was both good and bad.
    I mention your example about the Catholic Latinos in the complaint. Scarface, for example, used the Hollywood formula of not denigrating all Cuban immigrants by having the moral upstanding mother, and less upstanding but sympathetic sister. And true to that Hollywood formula, Tony was not unambiguously evil and repugnant, like the Jews in Drive, because he did not “break his word or his balls”, or harm the child, which of course the Jews did here.

    As for misleading Trailer, I think an opening night Cinemascore of C-, proves that, but it is explained more in the complaint.

    And the injunctive relief requested is some sort of warning, which the complaint states is a relatively small burden.

  37. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    So it was Drive’s responsibility to prominently feature a “good” Jewish character to act as a counterweight to the two main Jewish criminals and ensure that people did not walk out of the movie believing that it condones violence against Jews?

    Since when does a poor rating from Cinemascore provide conclusive proof that a trailer was misleading? Is that your best argument? Cause it’s weak, to say the least. If people don’t like a movie, it doesn’t automatically mean that the trailer is to blame. That’s a leap, just like it’s a leap to declare that Drive condones violence against Jews because it features Jews who happen to be criminals.

  38. Martin H. Leaf says:

    CimemaScore is taken opening weekend, which means that the movigoers are relying on the film company’s promotions.

    That is an absolutely horrific score. Also, Nikki Finke described the marketing as a “fast and furious ripoff”.
    The interview with Birney cited speaks for itself, about how different the movie was “ultraviolent, different pacing”.

    Is it the movie’s responsibility to have some counterweight good Jews ? No. Do they have the right to portray the Jews as cartoon stereotypical evil ? Yes (Germany’s anti Jewish hate criminal laws are another matter), but they open themselves up to a racism accusation.

    You say it is a leap to state that dehumanizing racism against Jews promotes criminal violence against them?
    What else accounts for criminal violence against a Jew merely for being a Jew ? I think that is a logical syllogism.

    And these were not criminals that “happen to be Jewish”. Their Jewishness was the cause of their evil, in the case of Izzy, or closely associated with their evil, in the case of Bernie. Read their bios on the official Drive website. http://www.drive-movie.com, compare that to the other characters.

  39. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    Bad Teacher and Your Highness also had very bad Cinemascore ratings. Is that because people simply didn’t like the movies or is it because of the marketing campaigns? Should someone sue if they feel the marketing was misleading?

    Now I feel like we saw different movies. Being a Jew caused them to be evil criminals? I strongly disagree. See, art is open to interpretation. If a person somehow believes that being Jewish is directly responsible for that person being a criminal, that doesn’t make it so. That’s an opinion, and hardly grounds for a lawsuit.

  40. Martin H. Leaf says:

    Paul:

    Did you read the bios on the official website ?

    The MCPA gives people from Michigan the right to sue for misleading advertising for certain consumer goods and services provided the misleading acts are covered in the enumerated categories.

    And by the same token criminal and civil laws allow the studio to sue or prosecute for copyright infringement, including cell camera phone use, or the guy that sneaks into the theatre without paying, and for that ten dollar theft/trespass costs the legal system probably thousands of dollars to prosecute etc.

    Or do you believe the law only applies to the benefit of the movie studios ?

  41. Okay, just random thoughts here…

    It’s no secret I kinda hated Drive, but I did not even watch the trailer before seeing it, so one cannot conclude that the low (and highly unscientific) Cinemascore grade is directly related to the marketing (IE – majority opinion aside for the moment, it could just be that it’s not a good movie). I didn’t watch the trailer before seeing the movie (I had correctly heard that it was spoiler-filled), but if I had and thought the movie looked good based on the trailer, would I have a cause of action? Most trailers technically make the movie ‘look good’. If the studios have a bad movie, is merely advertising that film in a way that makes it look good a case for fraud?

    If a trailer successfully makes a bad movie seem like a good one (like the second action-packed trailer to the 1998 Avengers, for example), is there cause of action? The Box received an ‘F’ from Cinemascore over opening weekend. Does that mean that anyone who bought a ticket on the basis that the trailer made the movie look good now has a cause of action? Is there a cause of action if a trailer contains a number of scenes that aren’t in the final cut of the film? That’s false advertising, right?

    Okay here’s another one… how about the many trailers that use sweeping, epic music to make the film’s seem more emotionally powerful than they actually are? Do I have grounds for litigation because I was far more moved by the trailers for Inception and Star Trek than by the films themselves? Hell, I can personally chalk up my personal dissatisfaction with Star Trek on the first viewing partially to my expectation that it would be a sweeping, epic adventure film as opposed to merely an above-average pulpy science-fiction B-movie (the trailer sold “THE Star Trek movie!, as opposed to merely “A Star Trek movie.”).

    At the very least, the trailer to Drive is actually pretty accurate in the sense that it reveals most of the major action moments, as well as hints at at-least some of the film’s more graphic violence. At its core, if there is any ‘deception’, it’s that the trailer theoretically highlights the film’s action beats and says ‘all this and MORE’ when in fact it’s merely ‘what you see is what you get’ in regards to action/suspense. Every trailer, in one fashion or another, sets out to make the movie look good. If the movie is ‘bad’ or disliked by the respective patron well, that’s the cost of doing business. Next time, read the reviews or wait for word of mouth.

    As for the Jewish business, I take personal offense at that one as a Jew. Point being, we all complain about the lack of quality roles for minority actors, yet whenever a minority is cast in a somewhat unsympathetic or complex part, someone somewhere screams ‘-ism!’. I WANT Jewish villains, just as I want more black villains, Christian villains, Asian villains, Buddhist villains, Hispanic villains, and female villains of all race and creeds (I’d even love to have some Islamic villains where their religion is not the motivation for their villainy). Specificity is what makes interesting characters and the idea that making the two main villains specifically Jewish is tantamount to Antisemitism is both absurd on its face and counter-intuitive to richer characterization.

    Oh, and I read those character bios. It is not their Jewishness that causes them to be evil, but merely that their religion (which is a minority one in a stereo-typically Italian/Roman-Catholic mafia) causes them to view themselves as outsiders and be treated by their peers as not ‘fitting in’. So yes, these Jewish gangsters technically suffer from a subtle form of anti-antisemitism and it does inform their behavior. But being Jewish does not cause them to be evil.

    Rant complete. Your witness, counsel…

  42. Paul MD (Stella's Boy) says:

    What Scott said.

  43. David Poland says:

    I just posted another piece on this suit.

    But wanted to note here… I am very much against banning anyone from posting in here. I believe that banning people for what may see like abuses leads to other, more problematic, dysfunction in the conversational tone of the space.

    As for Drew in specific here, he clearly has very strong feelings about your choice, Martin, to make this a legal issue. He may – I don’t know – have a personal relationship with the filmmakers. Or maybe he just loves the movie. But his anger seems to have a personal tinge.

    But as I wrote in my new entry on this issue, I don’t think it’s shocking that the studio or the filmmakers would be offended by the accusations in your suit. You may not directly accuse anyone of anti-Semitism, but if I were the Jewish distributor, the Jewish director, the Jewish actor, etc… I imagine that I would take it very personally and very much a personal accusation. None of these people are stupid. If they felt they were perpetuating racist mythology, I don’t think any of them would have participated. And you and Ms Deming as assuming that they are either willing participants or don’t understand the material as well as you two do.

    So… I do not agree with Drew about calling you nasty names. But I can understand the anger and to be fair, they didn’t bring the fight to you. Perhaps you didn’t expect this level of response… but you’ve urinated in some people’s pool… not while swimming, unknown to anyone… but your unzipping and fouling their water right in front of them and telling them that it is their fault. Drew’s anger speaks for many whose voices must be silent right now because they are defendants in a lawsuit.

  44. Drew McWeeny says:

    To be clear, my anger stems from dragging racism into a lawsuit that claims to be about “false advertising.”

    I think it’s a disgusting use of the legal system, and the more Leaf talks, the more I think it’s a grandstanding action by someone who knows full well that he’s got no legal leg to stand on.

    There are plenty of real cases involving hatred and racism and religious prejudice that I’m sure are being tried by real lawyers around the world. There are plenty of real causes to rally behind.

    This? A repulsive sham, and the verbal semantics being demonstrated by Leaf on this site are nothing more than a shell game played by a truly horrible human being. If you had one ounce of shame, Leaf, you’d knock it off now.

  45. Martin H. Leaf says:

    So Scott, I guess in your mind, there is no antisemitism, nor is antisemitism possible ?

    What would your definition of an antisemitic depiction of a Jew be ?

  46. Edward says:

    I am going to laugh my arse off when parts of this discussion are printed out and read out loud in court by the counsel for Film District, if this ever makes it to trial.

    Sec. 2 (b) of MCL 445.902 is the only part of the definitions that the plaintiff has a leg to stand on: “‘Documentary material’ includes the original or copy of a book, record, report, memorandum, paper, communication, tabulation, map, chart, photograph, mechanical transcription, or other tangible document or recording, wherever situated.”

    In Count 1 of the complaint, it is said the marketing of the film is in violation of MCL 445.903(c) because the actual character of the film was not as the defendant represented. I would be curious to know this is possible? The trailer shows Gosling’s character as a driver for the movies and as a “wheelman” for bad guys, shows him rarely verbal, and shows him to be capable of great violence.

    The first section of MCL 445.903′s rules state “Unfair, unconscionable, or deceptive methods, acts, or practices in the conduct of trade or commerce are unlawful” as defined in the subsections, and MCL 445.903(c) says “Representing that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, or quantities that they do not have or that a person has sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection that he or she does not have.” Of that, only “characteristics” or “ingredients” are of fair use in this case, and the marketing materials for Drive clearly defined Gosling’s character as a driver for the movies and as a “wheelman” for bad guys, shows him rarely verbal, and shows him to be capable of great violence. So goodbye to that part.

    Next, it is said the marketing was in violation of MCL 445.903(e) because the actual style of the film was not as the defendant represented. Now here is where Leaf sets his client up for a dismissal of everything else that follows in the complaint:

    “Plaintiff expected an action, chasing or race film, and instead saw a racist film.”

    This is the sentence where the entire case is hinged. Blow this one sentence away, and the entire case is dead.

    A person who is looking to be offended will find offenses wherever they look. If Ms. Deming believes the film vilifies those of the Jewish faith, she is going to find other people of a reasonable frame of mind who independently came to the same conclusion. And considering how poorly the film did, it’s highly unlikely she’s going to find a lot of people in the state of Michigan who saw the film and came to the same conclusion. She’s also going to have to convince whatever trial judge gets the case her conclusion is valid, and if the judge does not agree or does not feel a person of a reasonable frame of mind would come to the same conclusion, the entire case is dead.

    The question I have, though… if Ms Deming was expecting a Fast and Furious-type film, it would have been quite clear after the first ten or fifteen minutes that Drive was not that type of film. Why didn’t Ms. Deming exit the theatre after twenty or thirty minutes and ask for a refund? I know of not a single movie theatre in operation in the United States that does not understand there isn’t a single movie that has ever been made that will appeal to every single potential moviegoer, and is not willing to give a full refund back to any customer who willingly chooses to leave a movie after a reasonable amount of time because it wasn’t what they expected? One could reasonably argue Ms. Deming willfully allowed herself to be “injured” by the film by staying through the end, long after it was clear Drive wasn’t the type of movie she expected.

  47. NYLSBlog says:

    Want to know the validity of the “Drive” lawsuit? Check out our blog!

    http://www.lasisblog.com/2011/11/02/“furious”-film-fan-“driven”-to-sue/

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