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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB 022014

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6 Responses to “BYOB 022014”

  1. EtGuild2 says:

    So I saw “Blood Brother” last night, the documentary about the regular American dude who takes care of kids with AIDS in India. There was an absolutely fascinating meta-documentary that was taking place at the same time as what I was watching on screen involving the main dude’s desire to be liked, and the American desire for charitable works overseas to come with some sort of recognition. There’s a scene where this guy speaks of the horrific, wrenching stories of all these kids, but the focus is on how it affects HIM,. We do not see ONE story of how it affects the children he is speaking of, though images of the children recounting horrors shuffle past wordlessly. To be clear, I have no doubt this guy cares for the children he has dedicated his life to serve. At the same time, I have no doubt he feels that he is committed to a heroic, noble cause, and his jesture is by all means worthy of a documentary.

    Just an unbelievable examination of American narcissism in the philanthropic realm that I felt like either flew over most critics’ heads or they chose to ignore. But it made it the second greatest doc last year for me (Act of Killing) in a year of just superb work (Call Me Kuchu, Gideon’s Army, Herman’s House, A Band Called Death, 20 Feet From Stardom, on and on).

    Anyone else who saw this please comment.

  2. PcChongor says:

    Charity in America is just the 21st century version of paying an indulgence. Gives a nice warm and gooey feeling about helping out with a symptom, while leaving the root cause completely untouched. But at least it’s tax deductible!

  3. Tuck Pendleton says:

    Saw The Spectacular Now the other night. Wonderful, I was blown away.

  4. chris says:

    Sadly, Etguild, I don’t think that phenomenon is so uncommon. Same deal with “Born Into Brothels” and that movie won an Oscar.

  5. EtGuild2 says:

    Finally got around to “The Square.” Transcendent, amazing, must-see and is on Netflix instant. I know it happens again and again in the Oscars with feel-good domestic fluff overpowering world-beating cultural iconography, but “The Act of Killing” and “The Square” are two of the best documentaries ever made. I liked “20 Feet From Stardom,” but “The Act of Killing” is transforming Thailand’s response to the genocide with actual legislation taking place as a result of this film, and “The Square,” is a desperately needed reaffirmation of hope that should be required viewing for neo-cons like John McCain and Lindsey Graham pining for Mubarak.

    A “20 Feet From Stardom” win, god bless Darlene Love and company, would be the biggest travesty this year.

  6. Hcat says:

    So I just want to get this straight about the son of god movie this weekend. It is all repurposed footage from the hugely viewed miniseries. So they worked the church circuit to get them to pay for a movie they have seen in a slightly different form on cable and on DVD? Aren’t people going to feel slightly burned when they realize they bought.a ticket to something they have on the shelf at home?

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“Yes, good movies sprout up, inevitably, in the cracks and seams between the tectonic plates on which all of these franchises stay balanced, and we are reassured of their hardiness. But we don’t see what we don’t see; we don’t see the effort, or the cost of the effort, or the movies of which we’re deprived because of the cost of the effort. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice may have come from a studio, but it still required a substantial chunk of outside financing, and at $35 million, it’s not even that expensive. No studio could find the $8.5 million it cost Dan Gilroy to make Nightcrawler. Birdman cost a mere $18 million and still had to scrape that together at the last minute. Imagine American movie culture for the last few years without Her or Foxcatcher or American Hustle or The Master or Zero Dark Thirty and it suddenly looks markedly more frail—and those movies exist only because of the fairy godmothership of independent producer Megan Ellison. The grace of billionaires is not a great business model on which to hang the hopes of an art form.”
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How do you make a Top Ten list? For tax and organizational purposes, I keep a log of every movie I see (Title, year, director, exhibition format, and location the film was viewed in). Anything with an asterisk to the left of its title means it’s a 2014 release (or something I saw at a festival which is somehow in play for the year). If there’s a performance, or sequence, or line of dialogue, even, that strikes me in a certain way, I’ll make a note of it. So when year end consideration time (that is, the month and change out of the year where I feel valued) rolls around, it’s a little easier to go through and pull some contenders for categories. For 2014, I’m voting in three polls: Indiewire, SEFCA (my critics’ guild), and the Muriels. Since Indiewire was first, it required the most consternation. There were lots of films that I simply never had a chance to see, so I just went with my gut. SEFCA requires a lot of hemming and hawing and trying to be strategic, even though there’s none of the in-person skullduggery that I hear of from folk whose critics’ guild is all in the same city. The Muriels is the most fun to contribute to because it’s after the meat market phase of awards season. Also, because it’s at the beginning of next year, I’ll generally have been able to see everything I wanted to by then. I love making hierarchical lists, partially because they are so subjective and mercurial. Every critical proclamation is based on who you are at that moment and what experiences you’ve had up until that point. So they change, and that’s okay. It’s all a weird game of timing and emotional waveforms, and I’m sure a scientist could do an in-depth dissection of the process that leads to the discovery of shocking trends in collective evaluation. But I love the year end awards crush, because I feel somewhat respected and because I have a wild-and-wooly work schedule that has me bouncing around the city to screenings, or power viewing the screeners I get sent.
Jason Shawhan of Nashville Scene Answers CriticWire