MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

David Carr Exits

David Carr’s magic was that he was the most human person you could imagine. He was far from perfect. But his flaws were gloriously sharp, like the scars that showed, the ones you could hear, and the ones that were not so carefully hidden.

He cheated death, and not only came back to life, but earned the life he absolutely wanted. No one ever loved their kids more, respected wives for being able to put up with we men more, and his love affair with The Times… well… he bled gray.

Loyal to a fault… perhaps beyond. Once he believed something, he believed it. It was personal. Professional faults could be overlooked if he believed in you. And professional success would mean little if he had decided that you were of bad character.

He, like all of us, would get played now and again. But I always felt that his susceptibility was caused, in part, because of his modesty and that he felt—at least when I knew him pretty well—that though he wore the biggest sheriff’s badge going, he was not the sheriff, but Deputy Dawg.

I don’t know if he ever did end up feeling like The Sheriff. I hope he did. He certainly deserved to feel that way. But one rarely, if ever, caught him patting himself on the back.

He was a guy that you just wanted to sit with, as he mulled things over, ideas forming, asking questions when he already knew his answer, throwing out unexpected intimacies as though he was talking sports scores (which we never talked), finding something you hadn’t noticed but that he was chewing up.

He made himself an icon by not doing anything intended to make himself an icon. Just a guy with a job to do… with kids he loved… with a wife he wanted to please… Our Andy Griffith, but with the nasty edge you just knew Andy had to have when the cameras went off… with a deep love of music… of dark, dank rooms where something real could happen… with that crooked neck and that croak and that smile that always seemed to come with a twinkle. A skinny Santa with a bag full of surprises and fun and comfort.

I loved David Carr. I pissed him off on a few occasions and for that I cannot apologize, except for the time I was being a smart ass and had my facts dead wrong, making a meme out of a coincidence. For that I was (and am) sorry. And with that minor infraction, I did feel like I lost my friend and went back to acquaintance. I think he saw this as disloyalty on my part. But there was no conversation. Just a quick written slap and a “noted.” My loss, no question.

But I loved him. And I love him. He was, above all, a mensch. A flawed, sometimes fragile, never boring, unexpected, open, loving, silly, broken, beautiful mensch.

Couldn’t you have fucking waited for double -30- at least?

Sad, sad day.

2 Responses to “David Carr Exits”

  1. Stella's Boy says:

    Sad day indeed. Sad week really. RIP Carr and Bob Simon. Both will be sorely missed. The passing of those extremely talented gentlemen and the announcement of Jon Stewart’s pending retirement, what a week. A sad, bad week.

  2. Dberg says:

    I met him once on a plane to SXSW. Great guy and some great stories….

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The important thing is: what makes the audience interested in it? Of course, I don’t take on any roles that don’t interest me, or where I can’t find anything for myself in it. But I don’t like talking about that. If you go into a restaurant and you have been served an exquisite meal, you don’t need to know how the chef felt, or when he chose the vegetables on the market. I always feel a little like I would pull the rug out from under myself if I were to I speak about the background of my work. My explanations would come into conflict with the reason a movie is made in the first place — for the experience of the audience — and that, I would not want.
~  Christoph Waltz

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.