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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Presenting Slumdog: the cowboys and the campfire

campfire-a27.jpgI’ve obviously not read every stitch of Oscar hemming and hawing out there, but I was struck by at least one sly detail I haven’t seen remarked upon: having Steven Spielberg, whose DreamWorks is now partnered with Indian money, present the Best Picture, a category the winner of which was expected by almost everyone to be… Slumdog Millionaire. A tacit signal to the world that the movies as we know need the world to survive. Not just their money. The Australian director Bill Bennett says it’s the same as the tale of the cowboys and the campfire. Every so often, an influx of talent or inspirations needs to come from far away, from over the horizon, just like cowboys around the campfire expected strangers to stop and tell tales they hadn’t heard, the news they didn’t know yet.

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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