David Poland Stabs at Reverse Shot, Misses, Murders English Language Instead

by clarencecarter
January 10, 2007 5:45 AM
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From the front page of Dave "Literal Half-wit" Poland's moviecitynews:

"The Diaper Dandies At Reverse Shot Smack Down Eleven 2006 Movies With All The Smug Insight Of Your Average Bright Freshmen Film Student"

Something's not right here....At least he said we're bright!

What's he on about? Glad you asked.

Hey...it's robbie. Sorry to impinge, Clarence, but I thought I'd chime in, just to remind everyone of D. Poland's (as it turns out quite inauspicious) review of Little Children way back when, in which Todd Field is favorably compared to EVERY DIRECTOR THAT EVER LIVED. Strap yourselves in, cause this isn't the praise of any old average freshmen [sic]:

“One could easily assert that Little Children is the film that Ang Lee and Alan Ball and Robert Redford and Paul Thomas Anderson and even Woody Allen have been trying to make for a long time. Others, like Alejandro Inarritu and Steven Soderbergh and Alexander Payne and Cameron Crowe and Jim Brooks and the Coen Brothers are working on similar canvases, but are too interested in entertaining to go somewhere quite this dry and relentless (though they often come close and achieve greatness on different levels). I love me some Malick, but he wants to let the wind blow through our hair and to allow us to reflect on ourselves even as we watch his movies. In England & Ireland, Jim Sheridan and Alan Parker and Neil Jordan and Mike Leigh have gone here and have probably come closer to this work in defining their cultures than American filmmakers previously have...

But the one filmmaker whose voice is clear and clean in Little Children, aside from Todd Field, is Stanley Kubrick's.”

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More: Sweet Tidbits


  • Dylan Skolnick | January 11, 2007 4:46 AMReply

    Although this kind of thing can be amusing, I have to come down on the side of those who feel that sniping of this sort just lowers you to Dave Poland's level. The silliness of his Little Children review is self-evident. There is no reason to besmirch Reverse Shot's fine pages with this sort of nonsense.

  • macaroniprotest | January 11, 2007 2:58 AMReply

    Actually, I thought that list rather mature-sounding compared to last year, as you aired some pretty serious grievances instead of low blows.

    I agree, though, that the shots at critics are beneath you, even on the blog. Or at least try to air them in a manner less shrill.

    Actually, your review of Pan's Labyrinth is comparable to Andrew Tracy's takedown of Babel in Cinema Scope so I can't really charge you for practicing juvenile contrarianism. Both are cohesive and strong in their evidence for each movie's excesses and inconsistencies and generally in the half-baked trends running rampant in what H'wood considers "serious cinema".

  • robbiefreeling | January 10, 2007 11:22 AMReply

    Thanks, Alex. I've noticed your comments all over the web, and we appreciate your thoughts and readership. I know particularly the Pan's Labyrinth piece (on iW; my colleague Andrew Tracy's infinitely more measured "pan" deserves nothing but kudos) caused a stir...as the comments on those, though from the heart, were invariably stirred by the blinding lack of dissent felt at the time. (not to mention the confounding passion the film has engendered).

    That said, it is easy to take potshots, yet hopefully our reputation won't stand on such a matchstick foundation. Speaking for all of the fantastic writers at RS, I hope the main site at www.reverseshot.com, and not the blog (often a place to air quick grievances), will be mostly remembered and cited for its strong writing. As you can see from the huge variety of writing in each issue's symposium, the focus on retrospectives throughout NY, etc., the mud-slinging is but a drop in the comprehensive ocean of great writing we've put out. If David Poland gets his feelings hurt one day out of the year, I don't think we should whip ourselves and recite a few hail marys.

    Also, and a note to all, I seriously do not mind, and actually encourage, the controversy racked up by the 11 Offenses piece (we've been doing it a couple of years, but this one seemed to really get under peoples' skin); these debates need to be raised. If we have serious ideological issues with the films that have been championed ad naseum all year long, then sometimes we feel the need to go a little over-the-top. The year-end free-for-all encourages hyperbole, and we never claimed to be exempt from it.

  • Alex Murillo | January 10, 2007 10:52 AMReply

    I must say that, although I love Reverse Shot and respect the insights of its writers (even when I completely disagree with them), one aspect of the website that I find off-putting is its (somewhat juvenile) potshots at critics like A.O. Scott and Richard Roeper. Not to side with David Poland, but the Freshman Film Student image comes to mind whenever I read one of Reverse Shot's (quite possibly well-deserved) putdowns of those critics. I find it devalues the culture of film criticism, and leads to people like Poland firing back (as he did). No need to call Poland a half-wit or mock his taste...just take the high road, Reverse Shot, and continue to better him with your superior insights into movies.