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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Epiphany: James Schamus at sea

huey_lewis_and_the_news_5628.jpgIn Sunday’s NY Times biz section, Focus Features chief executive James Schamus gets “The Boss” treatment, and shares this lovely moment: “After bouncing around several colleges, I got my bachelor’s in English at U.C. Berkeley in 1982. In grad school there, my academic interests shifted from Milton to the history of cinema. One of my first teaching jobs was as an assistant for Prof. Carol Clover’s Ingmar Bergman class. Incredibly, this summer Ang Lee and I were invited to visit Bergman on his little island in the Baltic Sea. He’s 89 and has been my hero since I was a kid. He touched our faces as if we were small children, which, I suppose, we were. As Ang said, “You can dream of winning an Oscar, but you could never dream of this.”

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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