‘I Love This Film’ : Chris Pine’s ‘Poolman’ Got ‘F—ing Panned’ So Much That He Thought ‘Maybe I Did Make a Pile of S—‘; But He Refuses to Accept That

Chris Pine earned some of the worst reviews of his career for “Poolman,” a Los Angeles-set comedy mystery in the vein of “Chinatown” that Pine directed, co-wrote and starred in

Published Time: 10.05.2024 - 02:31:39 Modified Time: 10.05.2024 - 02:31:39

Chris Pine earned some of the worst reviews of his career for “Poolman,” a Los Angeles-set comedy mystery in the vein of “Chinatown” that Pine directed, co-wrote and starred in. The movie is Pine’s feature directorial debut, but it got eviscerated by critics when it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Variety critic Owen Gleiberman called it an “absurdist disaster,” for instance.

Making the press rounds to support the “Poolman” theatrical release, Pine stopped by the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast and refused to believe that he made a complete dud of a movie.

“Criticism as an actor is just a part of the game, but there’s a lot of stuff to hide behind,” Pine said. “There’s the director and the writer and the release pattern, etc. As an actor you come on set and you do your dance and you go off and by the time the film comes out you’ve done X amount of other projects. The closest thing I would imagine this is like — co-writing, directing, and starring in — is a stand-up comedian on stage feeling utterly naked. It’s been a real come-to-Jesus moment to seeing how resilient I am.”

“When the film came out at Toronto and just got fucking panned…I tried to make a joyful film,” Pine continued. “With so much joy behind it, to then be met with a fusillade of not-so-joyous stuff…the cognitive dissonance there was quite something. It’s ultimately been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s forced me to double down on joy and really double down on what I love most about my job, which you kind of forget, it’s fundamentally about play. You become children for hours a day and make -

believe. There’s an impish quality that I don’t want to lose.”

Pine said that he has been talking to his therapist about how he wishes he could be impervious to negative reviews, but he stressed: “I fully own the deep hurt of that process.”

“In the reframing of it…one of my favorite quotes is in Latin and it’s ‘vigor grows from the wound,'” Pine said. “In everything that feels like a setback, yes there is the hurt of the cut, but as the scar tissue forms and the healing process happens you do benefit from a growth in resilience.”

“I watched my film. After the reviews in Toronto I was like maybe I did make a pile of shit,” the actor admitted. “I went back and watched it. I fucking love this film. I love this film so much.”

“Poolman” stars Pine opposite Annette Bening, DeWanda Wise, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Danny DeVito and more. The director stars as an optimistic Los Angeles native whose career as a pool cleaner unravels when he stumbles upon a water heist. Gleiberman wrote in Variety review: “The actor plays a dud of a Dude in a movie he directed that’s all whimsical non-jokes and wispy warped dialogue that goes nowhere.”

“Poolman” opens in theaters May 10 from Vertical Entertainment. Watch Pine’s full appearance on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast in the video below

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