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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Shunning the cricket and going paperless: Carr construes

In his Monday NY Times column, David Carr offers his take on Hollywood studios showing no love to the lowly film cricket, essentially rehashing dozens of recent recaps, tinycricket.giflikely pegged to the $231.8 million worldwide gross Sony leveraged out of The Da Vinci Code. Carr lists three other successes, When a Stranger Calls, Underworld: Evolution and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion, that were not available for preview. afoxic204.jpgWhile the dozen movies not shown to critics this year (namechecked in a raft of articles), have partaken of one form of exploitation or another, Carr opines that “Some movies have been labeled critic-proof, but vast swaths of the industry now seem interested in heading to the market without being turned over with a pointy stick.” The shift from newsprint to the Internet is a large part of Carr’s case. “Even among adults, the time-honored practice of perusing large-print ads and then checking the fine print for listings has been replaced by clicking on the Web.” Along with the requisite nod in the general direction of Snakes on a Plane, and a keen appreciation of how the studios are cutting back on their print advertising budgets, here’s the starkest assertion Carr meanders into:

“[A] new division of Fox Film Entertainment aimed at teenagers, Fox Atomic, will produce eight films a year with a print budget of exactly zero.” Carr partially blames newspapers for the problem, since many “increased rates for movie advertising as other categories fell apart after the dot-com bust [and] may be partly to blame for the prospect of a paperless movie industry.” And what’s a national holiday without quoting Mark Cuban: “I know everyone is trying to make it come true because the cost of print ads could be considered extortion in some jurisdictions.”

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“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield