"Bow down before me!!! For I am Todd Field….King of the Cinema! I have accomplished everything that every other filmmaker has ever tried to do….mwhaaa haaa haaa!!!”
Sorry we’ve been gone so long; movie matters, like international film festivals, and personal matters, like buddies’ weddings, took precedent over snarking about film for the past week. So, thanks David Poland, thanks, for busting in on our calming blogless sojourn with your utterly nutsoid tomfoolery. We had heard some pretty reliable inside information, from someone we at Reverse Shot think is one of the greatest film critics working today, that Todd Field’s upcoming Little Children was, frankly, a festival du merde. Nevertheless, we were willing to keep an open mind. After all, for all its third-act shenanigans, Field’s In the Bedroom was a rather effective little splash of New England local color, nicely evocative and detailed, and of course, there was The Spacek. So we’re still curious about the director’s Kate Winslet/Patrick Wilson/Jackie Earl Hailey (!!) follow-up; but whatever well-wishes we had were nearly dashed this week by Poland’s “Movie City News” review, which in trying to get viewers excited, might have not only scared them off, but sent them screaming, running to their DVD collection, and throwing out every single fucking movie they’ve ever watched. Because, seriously, after this, what movies could possibly worth watching anymore?
“One could easily assert that Little Childrenis 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.”
Hmm, really? It seems that those directors make films with wildly different subject matter, from different milieux, and oftentimes different countries. Well, okay, if you say so, David. But wait:
“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).”
Well, you’re going out on some limbs there, but I see, I see…okay, so PT Anderson and Redford maybe do stuff on dysfunctional families, okay….and well, Inarittu makes those interconnected type dealies, while Crowe and Brooks have made movies…about….characters who….say things, and….do stuff, too. Yeah, and the Coen Brothers. Well, yes, I can see that, maybe. There’s some eccentricity there, maybe. Okay, David, I’m still with you.
“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.”
Yes, Malick, his free-floating elliptical films about American history are very much like those of Soderbergh. Okay, so Malick, Crowe, Brooks, Inarritu, Coens, Ang Lee….yes, yes I see a pattern forming…these are, well, they’re dramas? Yes, they all fit in the DRAMA genre. Whew. Oh, you have more to say, David?
“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…”
What, no Tom Shadyac? Well, apparently, there is ONE filmmaker in the history of film Field has able to already equal in some way:
“But the one filmmaker whose voice is clear and clean in Little Children, aside from Todd Field, is Stanley Kubrick's.”
Ah, it’s all clear now.
P.S. The nuttiness doesn’t stop there:
“I keep finding myself singing Pete Seeger's "Little Boxes," currently enjoying renewed fame as the theme song of Showtime's first great non-niche series, Weeds, to myself when I think of this film...
‘Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.’”
Incidentally, I caught a glimpse of Poland coming out of the screening of Little Children immediately after it ended and quickly snapped a photo.
I asked him what he thought of the film’s Oscar chances. (I gathered from his spittling and this guttural “hyuck hyuck hyuck” sound he was making that he was predicting many nods!)