Quotes

Paul Thomas Anderson

“Ophüls is my hero when it comes to blocking the actors and blocking the camera and the dance they do together. He’s just the best. By the way, have you seen The Post? I’d say Steven Spielberg is as good with the camera as anybody in film history. I saw it the other day, and I couldn’t believe how good he is at dealing with a lot of people in that small a space. He’s got ten people in a living room, and everybody’s moving around, and everything seems natural, and the camera’s dancing around them, and that thing is a miracle of staging and camerawork. I can’t wait to see it again, to really look under the hood and watch how he did it.”
~ Paul Thomas Anderson

Duncan Jones

~ Julie Delpy on Harvey Weinstein

“I knew he was someone to avoid being alone with at any cost.”
~ Julie Delpy on Harvey Weinstein

Rex Reed

“I don’t have ‘relationships,’ except friends. I don’t know, love is not something that I’ve been really good at. I think people are intimidated by people with opinions. I think it’s all over as far as that goes. How do you go start looking for a wife or a boyfriend or a significant other? It’s too late. It would be nice, though, to find somebody who’s really handy with a wheelchair, because that day is coming… If I had to give the greatest dinner party of my own choosing in the world, the only person I would invite that I have never met was Adolf Hitler. Everybody else, I’ve met.”
Rex Reed

Greta Gerwig

“Netflix and Amazon are creating new space for great writing, great acting and great directing, and new ways for audiences to watch different kinds of stories — movies, mini-series, long-form television, episodic television. All of that is very exciting for me as a fan of good work — there is so much of it! That being said, I have a soft spot for the experience of watching films in a movie theater. I’m essentially stealing this from Walter Murch’s afterword to “In the Blink of an Eye,” but I think that being in a movie theater puts you in a place of both collective experience and vulnerability that is impossible to achieve at home. I’m paraphrasing, but he said something close to this: Going to the movies always starts with one person saying to another, ‘Let’s go out.’ And that means that you are willingly taking yourself out of your comfort zone and allowing yourself the possibility of transformation. I like that, and even if it is something that is swimming against the current, I think I’m just going to keep at it. I’m a good swimmer.”
~ Greta Gerwig

Manohla Dargis

“Movies like Moonlight and Lady Bird are reminders that there are subindustries in entertainment. One gives us small, personal movies like those made by Mr. Jenkins and Ms. Gerwig. The other, far more dominant part of the industry churns out movies that are sometimes good (The Last Jedi), but are also primarily delivery systems for a company’s branded content, including its action figures, bedsheets and theme parks. That’s why Disney’s acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox is so important. It’s praiseworthy that Disney has hired Mr. Coogler and Ms. DuVernay; Disney understands the audience in all its multiplicities. At the same time, the end of the old Fox and the Disneyfication of the entire movie mainstream are bleak.”
~ Manohla Dargis

~ Sir Ridley Scott

“You just become more practiced and cut away the shit. Start in the morning, get on another pot of coffee, write the fucker.”
~ Sir Ridley Scott

Mark Harris

“If any dissent from the very warm reception [of Call Me By Your Name] has frustrated me, it’s the low drumbeat from some gay writers that the movie somehow pulls its punches—that it’s too polite to look at sex between Elio and Oliver, that it should show more, that it needs to go there. No, it doesn’t. First of all, nudity as a signpost of artistic integrity is something we should all move past. Second, penises are about the most readily available commodity in the whole large world of gay indies. But what dismays me most is that this critique feels like it’s about what the critic wants rather than what the movie needs. I haven’t heard a persuasive case that something meaningful would be articulated about Elio or Oliver if you showed sucking or erections or penetration; it feels more like an ideological insistence that Call Me should have the balls to risk affronting more people, to be more in-your-face. As if the movie were a candidate that somehow failed to placate its base. (It’s also strange to see what’s described as Call Me’s reticence invoked as symptomatic of a double standard, as if mainstream heterosexual romantic dramas are brimming with vulvas and cumshots.) Yes, André Aciman’s novel is more explicit (in ways that feel persuasive and ways that don’t), but novels aren’t movies, and to put it plainly, I don’t think that a film adaptation owes its audience dick in that regard.”
~ Mark Harris

Surface Woody

James Schamus

“This mix of fiction and documentary is a notable feature of so much of what’s interesting in recent cinema, from all the big-budget films ‘based on a true story’ to the more independent works that in a variety of ways tackle the breaks, cracks, and fissures of the ‘fictional’ narrative structures that shape our actual existences. The first scene of the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time is exemplary in this light – no other scene I’ve watched in 2017 dealt so boldly with all these confusing and conflictual aesthetic and political conflicts. In it, a seething, developmentally disabled young man (played by the film’s co-director Benny Safdie) sits in the office of a psychiatrist (Peter Verby, in “real life” not a professional actor, but a criminal attorney), who is administering some kind of cognitive test meant to elicit from the young man some account of his own violent history and tendencies. Under the guise of soliciting therapeutic, healing self-knowledge, the psychiatrist cannot but help betray his performance to be in the service of the state and its institutional power. Shot primarily in extreme close ups, the scene first solicits our concern for the psychiatrist’s safety (Safdie’s performance is electrically on edge); but it is the state violence of the psychiatrist’s probing, and the intensity of that violence as it is revealed on Safdie’s tear-stained face, that alerts us to the film’s greater empathies, especially as the session is interrupted and the scene ended with the entrance of Nick’s brother Connie (Robert Pattinson), who, in the name of family, pulls his brother from the office (and into a woefully mis-executed crime). The Nikas family ‘organization,’ brought to life in the hybrid documentary-fiction language of the Safdies, never had a chance against the powers serving the crime family currently in the White House, but the reality of their resistance, as evidenced in Benny Safdie’s tears, is an eloquent reminder of what’s at stake in the current battles waged within the images we circulate, and the battles hardly visible but no less real.”
James Schamus

Joseph McBride

“I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with Jean Arthur in the 1980s at her home in Carmel, thanks to an introduction by Frank Capra. I was one of only a handful of people she would see in her later years, and we had a lot of fun talking. Life magazine once wrote that she was so reclusive she made Garbo look like a party girl. She told me some revealing things, such as when I asked why she left Hollywood. She said that when she was under contract to Columbia in 1945, the female stars’ dressing rooms were in a row, with a dark hallway connecting them. There was a secret entrance, and studio chief Harry Cohn would come in there and attack the actresses. Jean decided to kill Harry Cohn. She thought she could shoot him in the hallway and get away with it. But she told me that instead she walked the backlot for three hours and decided to quit the business instead. She left Columbia for the theater and made only two more films, A Foreign Affair for Billy Wilder and Shane for George Stevens, plus her short-lived TV series. Sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood did not begin with Harvey Weinstein; it’s always been an odious part of the movie business.”
~ Joseph McBride

Emily Watson

“My first film was Breaking the Waves, aged 29, so I went into the film business with a bit of clout. People didn’t mess with me. I wasn’t ever as vulnerable as a novice teenage actress might be – or maybe I just have that vibe. Fierce, I think it’s called. Although you shouldn’t have to be fierce to be safe in your workplace… I was never treated with anything other than respect. I can’t speak for others, though. It’s incredibly brave of people to come forward. But there’s a massive range of allegations, from the clearly criminal to much milder. We can’t put everyone in the same bracket. People still have a right to presumption of innocence and due process. It’s become a rolling media storm but it would be disrespectful to the women who have been brave enough to come forward if it wasn’t treated with the seriousness it deserves.”
~ Emily Watson

Anne Elizabeth Moore on Vice, 2014

“Lie becomes joke becomes stance: the evolution of form is mirrored by readers’ decreasing attention spans in the Internet age. But the company’s manic quest for a business model that distances creators and funders from the content engenders a lack of critical engagement among its consumer base; it also sidesteps the core practices of journalism. In this through-the-looking-glass world of brand-domination-through-truth-bending, the usual questions that govern an investigative reporting project can also be turned on the company proper: Who is accountable?

“For Vice Media, accountability takes a back seat to accounts payable: the company’s estimated total value, based on the Murdoch empire’s buy-in, is $1.4 billion. The metric of success is “clicks” over “paper sales”—a clear, and discomfitingly natural, extension of tabloid news values into the digital sphere. Under this logic, nothing matters but the bottom line. However, the genius of the Vice model is that the bottom line, too, has been outsourced: Smith has acted as content supplier for a host of entertainment and journalistic outlets seeking to burnish their hipster accreditation. This means that Vice Media’s primary, if not exclusive, responsibility is to attract attention.”
~ Anne Elizabeth Moore on Vice, 2014

Paul Thomas Anderson

“Some love stories work out, some don’t. I always like the feeling of, you know… Here’s looking at you, kid. I mean, that doesn’t work out, does it? I can have that feeling sometimes of real joy in sadness. Or that kind of joy that you get from a sad song that’s got you crying your eyes out, that’s just making you feel so deeply. It just kind of overcomes you with—whether it’s melancholy, or just sadness, and it allows you to kind of open the floodgates and to sit in that for three or four minutes in the song. That can be so great. It’s just as therapeutic as hearing an up-tempo dance number that makes you want to jump around the house. I mean, those things can have the same effect. And sometimes it’s nice. I think I’ve always been a sucker for those kinds of things.”
~ Paul Thomas Anderson

Publicizing Sir Ridley’s Deadline Dash

What about replacing Mr. Spacey with another actor? Mr. Plummer, perhaps.
“That would theoretically be fantastic,” Mr. Rothman said he responded. “But I have supervised 450 movies over the course of my career. And what you are saying is impossible. There is not enough time.”
~ Publicizing Sir Ridley’s Deadline Dash

Errol Morris

“Would I like to see Wormwood in a theater on a big screen? You betcha. I’d be disingenuous to argue otherwise. But we’re all part of, like it or not, an industry, and what Netflix offers is an opportunity to do different kinds of films in different ways. Maybe part of what is being sacrificed is that they no longer go into theaters. If the choice is between not doing it at all and having it not go to theaters, it’s an easy choice to make.”
~ Errol Morris

“The Unsexy Truth About Harassment,” by Melissa Gira Grant

“As these stories continue to break, in the weeks since women have said they were harassed and abused by Harvey Weinstein, which was not the birth of a movement but an easy and highly visible shorthand for decades of organizing against sexual harassment that preceded this moment, I hope to gain back my time, my work. Lately, though, I have noticed a drift in the discourse from violated rights to violated feelings: the swelled number of reporters on the beat, the burden on each woman’s story to concern a man “important” enough to report on, the detailed accounting of hotel robes and incriminating texts along with a careful description of what was grabbed, who exposed what, and how many times. What I remember most, from “my story” is how small the sex talk felt, almost dull. I did not feel hurt. I had no pain to confess in public. As more stories come out, I like to think that we would also believe a woman who said, for example, that the sight of the penis of the man who promised her work did not wound her, and that the loss she felt was not some loss of herself but of her time, energy, power.”
~ “The Unsexy Truth About Harassment,” by Melissa Gira Grant

Quote Unquotesee all »

“So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ And they’re sending pictures. I was like, ‘Are you people fucking nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’ I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there.”
Ellen Pompeo

“I am, as you indicate, no stranger as a novelist to the erotic furies. Men enveloped by sexual temptation is one of the aspects of men’s lives that I’ve written about in some of my books. Men responsive to the insistent call of sexual pleasure, beset by shameful desires and the undauntedness of obsessive lusts, beguiled even by the lure of the taboo — over the decades, I have imagined a small coterie of unsettled men possessed by just such inflammatory forces they must negotiate and contend with. I’ve tried to be uncompromising in depicting these men each as he is, each as he behaves, aroused, stimulated, hungry in the grip of carnal fervor and facing the array of psychological and ethical quandaries the exigencies of desire present. I haven’t shunned the hard facts in these fictions of why and how and when tumescent men do what they do, even when these have not been in harmony with the portrayal that a masculine public-relations campaign — if there were such a thing — might prefer. I’ve stepped not just inside the male head but into the reality of those urges whose obstinate pressure by its persistence can menace one’s rationality, urges sometimes so intense they may even be experienced as a form of lunacy. Consequently, none of the more extreme conduct I have been reading about in the newspapers lately has astonished me.”
~ Philip Roth