CINEJABBER: Not enough room in this town

Posted by · 2:24 pm · November 13th, 2010

Catch up with the idea behind these weekend posts here.

It’s been a hell of a week.  The busiest, for me, of the season so far.  Much of that is owed to AFI Fest, but the campaign machinery is really clicking.

Sony Classics sent out screeners of “Get Low” to Academy members this week, right on the heels of Robert Duvall coming into town to make the usual rounds.  Which actually brings me to an observation/point/complaint.  Give me some feedback here, if you don’t mind.

First and foremost, it’s understood that publicists are doing their jobs by squeezing talent into small windows for multiple journalists, but I’m not alone in feeling that the consistent lack of any real exclusivity is beginning to grate.  Every time I go to another interview, I’m bumping into David Poland and his camera crew, offering a wave and chatting with Steve Pond, catching up with Tom O’Neil, etc.  A few days later, we all have similar interview items up.  And the point is less about what I want and more about what you, as the reader, get.

Granted, it is the job of the journalist to shake things up and keep the interview fresh.  But with the limited time we’re sometimes afforded, there are still certain things that have to be covered.  And talent, as would be expected in the midst of a journalistic deluge, settles into a groove of uniform responses (unless, of course, you’re Michelle Williams and you strive to make every answer unique and take the time to seek out the deepest, honest answer).  Overall, though, this is why I rarely bother with a junket opportunity, because that’s a situation with tons of journalists getting the same material.  But at least junkets have a variety of outlets rather than aiming at one particular niche of the entertainment spectrum.

In awards season coverage, I’m lucky enough to have a six month span of time that makes sense for any piece.  I don’t have to publish things around a film’s release because interviews with contenders play any time between September and February.  So I’ve certainly suggested sprinkling that access and stretching the coverage out a bit (and this would obviously behoove the aims of publicists as well, so it’s win-win).

My question to you is, when you read an interview here and then see pretty much the same thing elsewhere, does it become at all, I don’t know, frustrating?  Does the saturation hurt at all, or do you not really notice all that much?  It’s an honest curiosity.  I don’t want to get to the point where I’m simply offering up a few choice sound bytes after sitting down with a guy like Robert Duvall for fear of treading the same territory as someone with a shared audience.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for you this week.  Address it if you like or, otherwise, cut loose with whatever.  Open thread.

[Photo: Sony Pictures Classics]

→ 40 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Cinejabber

40 responses so far

  • 1 11-13-2010 at 2:29 pm

    Angry Shark said...

    I’m pretty confused as to why anyone who has seen The Social Network is not predicting Eisenberg. There will be people who claim he’s not the chief reason the film succeeded, and the heart and soul of the film, but there are also people who believe 9/11 was an inside job, so…yeah. I think he’s in either the 3rd or 4th spot, if indeed there are “spots”.

  • 2 11-13-2010 at 2:34 pm

    monkey said...

    This is my special plea to Lionsgate to put out an campaign just for the actresses so one or two can get an nomination

  • 3 11-13-2010 at 2:35 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Saw “127 Hours” a few hours ago. Really liked it, thought it was very affecting and absolutely caught me up in the moment. Franco is superb, and would be my Best Actor choice at this time without having seen Firth or Bridges. Great cinematography and sound work as well, 7-10 nominations definitely doesn’t seem out of the question. But… can it win anything?

  • 4 11-13-2010 at 2:39 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Shark: It’s the unlikeable factor. I’m sure people said, “How can anyone see Sideways and not predict Paul Giamatti?”

  • 5 11-13-2010 at 2:47 pm

    James D. said...

    Interviews seem so terribly boring to me. Other than a select few projects, I really have no interest in them. No one ever asks interesting questions, nor do they get interesting answers.

  • 6 11-13-2010 at 2:54 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I’m afraid I can’t offer anything sage on the interview question. I don’t read quite enough to see the comparisons (of questions/answers asked). I would imagine how frustrating it must be, though.

    Saw ‘Morning Glory’. 6.5 out of 10. Not awful, but nothing special. Loved McAdams, though. Ford & Keaton were fine. Funny enough, I got the impression from my theater that they’d have liked more of the Patrick Wilson character and less of the morning new show (haha).

    I basically found the movie fairly tedious, followed by stretches where something very funny was occurring. Rinse and repeat.

    Most of the people leaving the theater were saying “that was cute”.

    Oh, and I’m 15 minutes into ‘Animal Kingdom’ and can barely understand a word these characters are saying. Frustration.

  • 7 11-13-2010 at 3:07 pm

    Michael said...

    I don’t find it frustrating b/c I honestly don’t seek out the same material elsewhere (although I understand how others might find it frustrating.) I think it is a matter of personal preference from the individual reader and where they choose to go to first (or enjoy reading from most) in regards to interviews or otherwise “exclusive” material. I used to go to like 10 different “Oscar blogs” on a daily basis, and at times seeing the same opinions would get annoying. But the quality of the writing, site design, etc. has caused me to now only visit a small handful (on a daily basis) and this is one of my favorites b/c I feel like you guys make it your biggest priority to actually see every film before offering the final say in your opinion, and the writing is significantly better and more clearly-thought than many of the, I don’t know, competitor sites I guess you would call them. So as a reader of this site over others that might also have access to the same material I would ask that you not be discouraged from still posting what you report on b/c there are sure to be others like me who prefer to get it here over somewhere else.

  • 8 11-13-2010 at 3:16 pm

    Loyal said...

    I generally don’t read blogger interviews, especially those that are part of the award circuit. It’s just too much repetition now.

    Incontention, Hollyw00dElsewhere, MCN, AwardsDaily, GoldDerby, not to mention fanboy bloggers like Slashfilm, Collider, Firstshowing, Hitfix, BadAssDigest. After a certain point it becomes noise.

    I read Op-Ed pieces, updated Oscar charts, and listen to podcasts. Everything else is pretty redundant.

  • 9 11-13-2010 at 3:39 pm

    James D. said...

    Funny story, I suppose. I am taking a class this semester called Judicial Process and Politics, and the opening of a chapter talked about Betty Anne Waters and her brother, who most of you know as the protagonists of Conviction. I have not seen the movie, but I now know the ending. Robbed by the educational institution, I think.

  • 10 11-13-2010 at 3:46 pm

    tony rock said...

    But is Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg really that unlikeable? Despite his “asshole” behavior, he’s still a somewhat sympathetic character in the film. And I can certainly see some people in the Academy admiring the character’s tenacity.

  • 11 11-13-2010 at 3:56 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Speaking of Get Low, I find it odd that it still hasn’t been announced for release on DVD/Blu-ray. It’s been out for 3 1/2 months now, so a mid-December release would be well within the normal window not to mention perfect timing in terms of the awards season. It’s especially odd since a small film like this really could benefit greatly by being available for people to rent when (if) Duvall scores a Golden Globe nomination, for example. Makes no sense at all.

  • 12 11-13-2010 at 4:02 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    But couldn’t you say the same thing about other areas of journalism? I mean, I hear the same phrases and interview questions with politicians on their campaigns. In my opinion, that’s just the reality of the situation that happens with any kind of promotional tour. Sounds bytes and over-saturation and noise.

    Thanks for giving me yet another reason to love Michelle Williams, though.

  • 13 11-13-2010 at 4:04 pm

    Graysmith said...

    As for interviews, even though I can understand that it may seem like it’s the same stuff going around on all the websites, I would think most of us readers have our favourites that we stick to. For example, I used to subscribe to both /Film and Cinematical’s RSS feeds but it became very obvious very quickly that it’s the same stuff on both sites. If one site got whiff of something, it wasn’t long before the other posted the same thing. It was redundant to have both feeds, so I picked a favourite and ditched the other. It’s the same with Oscar sites. In Contention is my main source, I visit AwardsDaily on a fairly regular basis and the rest on the rare occasion, usually if they actually have something exclusive to talk about.

    You guys who actually do this probably keep a closer eye on each other and what you’re all writing about than we do.

  • 14 11-13-2010 at 4:22 pm

    daveylow said...

    There is a lot of similar content on among the different awards sites so I’m finding I only check them all once in a while. Steve Pond whose coverage of awards I respect has lately repeated things I’ve read elsewhere or linked to sites I’ve already read. Don’t know what the solution is except for me it’s to spend less time online!

  • 15 11-13-2010 at 4:28 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Perhaps it’s as simple as that, Robert. It’s just something that has popped up this year and it’s a shared opinion with other journalists.

  • 16 11-13-2010 at 4:42 pm

    Lucas said...

    Saw 127 Hours today… very good. I really loved the editing at the beginning, and the cinematography. I’m not sure Rahman’s score will be nominated as Kris currently has predicted; the non-score tracks in the movie were incredibly well chosen, but the score itself was nothing remarkable.

  • 17 11-13-2010 at 5:01 pm

    Mitchell said...

    Re: Interviews- I actually find this site’s interviews refreshing and different becuase it’s a narrative piece, and not a transcript like most sites, and I think narratives are better reads.

  • 18 11-13-2010 at 5:07 pm

    daveylow said...

    Have to add that In Contention deals with other categories in detail outside of acting which I really appreciate. Unless some awards junkies, I am very interested in the awards for cinematography, art direction, editing and music, and I always get annoyed when the Academy fails to give the cinematography or score award to the right person.

  • 19 11-13-2010 at 5:34 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Kris, the Q&As following guild screenings are equally frustrating, because the moderators ask the same questions the journalists have been asking, and the talent has the same five pat anecdotes ready (sometimes they’re not even the answers to the questions asked). And when the Q&A is opened up to the audience, you might expect some curveballs or at least a few unique questions, but it’s usually equally predictable or worse. I usually flee after the moderated portion.

    That said, I like hearing the filmmakers talk about their work and I prefer Q&As and podcasts to puff pieces and edited interviews.

  • 20 11-13-2010 at 6:32 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    When I moderate I try to mix those up a bit, but in general, post-screening Q&As are meant to be broad so it’s tough.

    Anyway, thanks for all the responses so far.

  • 21 11-13-2010 at 6:43 pm

    (The Real)Dan said...


    I only read the sites who offer interesting material. All the other sites that I find dull, who may or may not have the same essential material and/or interview subjects, I don’t really read anyway. So I avoid the problem you mention of over saturation.

    HOWEVER, I should add that I find most interview articles, even on the sites I frequent, relatively dull compared to other content, usually becuase the questions and answers are kinda boring. Yours are pretty good….David Poland’s DP 30 thing is probably the best since you get to see the subject and he asks good questions.

  • 22 11-13-2010 at 7:44 pm

    Mike said...

    Unstoppable has an 87% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It is projected to have a 24 million opening weekend. Has anyone even suggested this film for a Best Picture nomination? Assuming it is a sizeable hit, I think it could get in. You heard it here first.

  • 23 11-13-2010 at 8:30 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “You heard it here first.”

    And last, I imagine.

  • 24 11-13-2010 at 9:00 pm

    tp89 said...

    Kristopher Tapley , I know you are not a fan of Jeff Wells, but he has had some incredible one- on-one video or audio interviews with interesting talents ( Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas, Todd Phillips, and Darren Aronofsky) . My most favorite Jeff interview is still his one -on- one with Thomas McCarthy. His questions are usually infused with his passion for cinema and the artists’ responses are normally thought- provoking . Wells can be tough, but he helps create a wonderful intimacy with his interview subjects- they feel very comfortable and open. I do enjoy some of Anne Thompson & Donald Poland video interviews- but they don’t bring the edge that Jeff brings to the table. Kris, I usually like the interviews on this site , but it would be cool to have some one – on- one video interviews.

    P.S. Kris, I know you didn’t care for Love And Other Drugs, but I’m really digging the video interviews ( youtube) pairing Jake Gyllenhaal & Anne Hathaway. Together, they make an unbelievably charismatic team ( seriously they are similar to Nick & Nora Charles) – I haven’t seen this type of electricity and playfulness between a movie couple in years ( or maybe even decades). After watching some of their interviews, Jake & Anne have proven they are some of the smartest, funniest, likable, and personable young actors working today. During the Social Network promotion, Armie Hammer stood out as the best interviewee in his group of young actors. Hammer was always charming, quick, hilarious, gracious, and full of life. Based on his interviews ( and his talent) , I predict Armie is going to be a huge star. Recently, I’ve seen some video interviews with Carey Mulligan, Jesse Eisenberg, and Andrew Garfield ( sometimes loose and funny) . These thespians are talented for sure , but watching their interviews is like watching ” paint dry” – whether with a group of actors or one-on-on interviews. I understand not every talent is joyful or humorous, or even self-confident. But, they need to realize they are selling a movie and try to bring strong positive personality to the table .

  • 25 11-13-2010 at 10:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Who said I wasn’t a fan of Jeff? I’m testy with him on the net because he needs the push back but he’s a friend offline.

    Anyway, I enjoy watching video interviews but what can I say? I’m a writer. I want to write the experience and person narratively.

  • 26 11-13-2010 at 11:04 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    wouldn’t all around exclusive mean some serious competition between you guys?

    How will you be sitting in such a position? Will you be able to get everybody you’d want? :)

  • 27 11-13-2010 at 11:14 pm

    tp89 said...

    Kris, I’m happy to hear both you and Jeff have an ” offline friendship” .

    P.S. I didn’t care for “Morning Glory” – it wasn’t evening tad bit charming . Congress desperately needs to pass an act to force Rachel McAdams , Harrison Ford, Patrick Wilson ( very gifted theatre actor ) into film career rehab. It continues to be disappointing to see these talented actors squander their gifts.

  • 28 11-13-2010 at 11:25 pm

    Rob said...

    Saw “Love and Other Drugs” tonight and thought it was far worse than the mixed buzz had been indicating. Just a massive mess that doesn’t work on any level. Between this and “Morning Glory,” I officially am done taking Wells’ word for anything.

  • 29 11-14-2010 at 12:17 am

    Patriotsfan said...

    On the interviews, I have to say that I don’t usually read them. I’m more interested on your and Guy’s opinions on movies and the Oscar race, so whether an interview is exclusive or not, does really matter to me (especially if the interview is with an actor).

  • 30 11-14-2010 at 12:18 am

    Patriotsfan said...

    (does not)*

  • 31 11-14-2010 at 1:06 am

    RJNeb2 said...

    I caught “Let Me In” this weekend and was particularly struck by its remarkable sound design. It’s not often such a thing sticks out for me. A viable contender in one of the sound categories perhaps?

  • 32 11-14-2010 at 10:34 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    It’s been like this for a while. Once someone begins the campaign all their interviews and answers are the same. On top of interviewing with awards/film bloggers they do multiple post screening QA’s and appear on all the early morning and late night talk shows.

    As stated it’s the publicists job to get them out there to all the eyes and ears they can. Also the exclusivity idea is tough. How are they going to decide who Duvall should talk to and who he shouldn’t? There is no fair way of going about that.

  • 33 11-14-2010 at 11:38 am

    Maxim said...

    Yes, this situation is frustrating (and tends to cheapen whatever person or even it relates to) but, at least, this type of redundancy is understandable.

    What is much more annoying however, is seeing hundreds of movies sites “report” the very same news article instead of just liking to it. And worst of all, in their desire to make it sound just a little bit different they nearly constantly get something important wrong.

  • 34 11-14-2010 at 12:56 pm

    Jake G. said...

    It would be Cool is Rob Duvall got nominated for Get Low!

  • 35 11-14-2010 at 1:26 pm

    Angry Shark said...

    The thing is, I think Eisenberg’s character is way more sympathetic than Giamatti’s in Sideways. Might be a generational thing, though, or feeling like I relate to the character because I also have a mild social disability. But I think Eisenberg will have a lot of support from people under the age of 50 who understand that The Social Network makes Zuckerberg a hero and villain in equal measure.

  • 36 11-14-2010 at 4:08 pm

    Lucas said...

    Isn’t it weird that 6 of 10 BP nominee titles start with The?

  • 37 11-14-2010 at 4:16 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    It’s frustrating to you as the journalist. I don’t read interviews unless I’m interested in the subject someone here is interviewing. As of now there hasn’t been a subject interviewed that I cared enough for to stop for a moment and read their interview. I prefer articles like (this one) that ask questions and movie reviews.

  • 38 11-15-2010 at 5:22 am

    JJ1 said...

    I see Best Actor as: Firth, Franco, Duvall, Eisenberg, and Gosling.

    I still can’t see Bridges IN sight unseen. I’m going on Gosling because of the rave reviews and the fact that the actors really like him (past nominee in a tiny film). And Eisenberg, well, I just have a feeling he’s the Jeremy Renner because everyone doubted him last year, as well.

  • 39 11-15-2010 at 7:00 am

    The Dude said...

    A bit off-topic (but then again, isn’t that the point of these posts?), but apparently details have been released regarding Aronofsky’s Wolverine project. It will be called “The Wolverine” and will be a stand-alone project (rather than a sequel to the Origins movie). Also, supposedly, samurai will be involved. Not much to go on, but at least Aronofsky isn’t going to be shackled down by the series’ previous entries…he might actually be able to do a movie his way, which would be cool.

  • 40 11-15-2010 at 9:43 am

    billybil said...

    To be quite honest – I go to sites because of the writers on the sites and not because of any exclusive “get”. Sure, that’s always fun the rare times it happens but it’s you and Mr. Lodge that keeps me coming back time and again. I’ve pretty much spent a year or so now exploring all kinds of movie sites and I’m finding myself returning to the same one or two most of the time now – this being one of them. There’s something about this online environment that makes it feel more personal (and, quite frankly, transient) than when I read something in print so it’s truthfully more about you than about what you tell me.