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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

BYOB: RIP, Bill Paxton

byob_paxton

11 Responses to “BYOB: RIP, Bill Paxton”

  1. Pete B. says:

    Good God, that truly sucks. Bill Paxton was great. He could put a spin on a line of dialog and truly make it his own. And his directorial debut of Frailty was vastly underappreciated. You will be missed sir. You will be missed. I went out and bought the Hatfields & McCoys today just to honor you and your sole Emmy win.

  2. Movieman says:

    “Big Love” to Bill Paxton.
    R.I.P., sir.

  3. LBB says:

    A true Texas boy who never lost the Texas or the boy. Made it through sheer talent, charisma, and spark. He made everything he did his own and leaves behind great work large and small.

  4. Geoff says:

    Really a strong career as career character actor now looking back on it – Aliens to Near Dark to One False Move to True Lies to Titanic to A Simple Plan…..Didn’t seem to have as many plum roles in the early ’00’s but NICE resurgence just a couple of years back with Edge of Tomorrow and Nightcrawler! RIP Hudson.

  5. Sideshow Bill says:

    I forgot he was in NIGHTCRAWLER. he was always great. As teen film geek I became obsessed with him after Aliens and Weird Science. He was a multi-talented guy. Even had a new wave band called Martini Ranch. And Frailty is fantastic, and it doesn’t hurt that it has a great Powers Boothe performance. I mentioned A Simple Plan in the other thread. That movie is so oddly overlooked considering the talent involved, and the quality. Raimi has never been more controlled.

    I feel like a part of my youth died with him today. I shed a few tears this morning. It really does hurt. Much like when Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed.

    RIP Bill. Thank you for everything.

  6. Mike says:

    Wasn’t he in porn before making it in real movies? I thought I read that somewhere. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

  7. TrackerBacker says:

    Mike: No.

  8. Stella's Boy says:

    Only actor to ever be killed by an alien, predator, and terminator. He was such a treasure. This is bullshit.

  9. CG says:

    Damn shame. He was usually the most interesting thing on Big Love, even though he rarely had the biggest/showiest moments.

  10. Krazy Eyes says:

    A real shame. He as a very talented actor, director, and by many reports an all round decent guy.

    As a huge fan of Frailty, this news is especially tough since it was recently reported that Paxton was reteaming with Frailty scribe Brent Hanley on an adaptation of Joe Lansdale’s The Bottoms.

    And speaking of Hanley, WTF happened to him? Dude comes roaring out of the gate with such an exceptional debut screenplay and then “poof” nada for over a decade — unless you count that Masters of Horror. I’m guessing he’s making a living script doctoring or selling specs but damn.

  11. Sideshow Bill says:

    He was good on Big Love but I watched that for Harry Dean. They made good foils.

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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.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin