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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

End of Days: April 26, 2011

It seems I picked a good week to be out of town…

There is really no news of significance this week.  So the media circle jerk seems to be content to continue to beat the Elvis Mitchell story to death.  Between The Hollywood Reporter suggesting, while offering no reason/excuse for suggesting it, that Elvis might lose his KCRW gig, Anne Thompson spinning some misinformation and a lot of rumors, and Ebert (and our own Kim Voynar) overreaching to protect him, I am sickened by the ongoing spectacle.

And MCN is somewhat responsible, as our Ray Pride was the person who sent Duncan Jones’ tweet to Movieline in the first place, as well as linking it to the specific passage in the pre-Jones screenplay.  It never occurred to Ray or me that all this drama would result.

Look, I am no Elvis fan.  I don’t think he’s special.  There are a parade of well-intended festivals that have been hung out to dry at the last minute by Elvis with lame excuses or no excuses.  (The border incident with the cash was NOT on the way to TIFF.)  The list of jobs… forget not showing up, not even signing a contract… is mesmerizing. I think he manages up well, but in the end, the show he does on KCRW is important.  He is not.

For the record, the only person who stepped up to defend Mitchell from my tweeted “saw that coming”s after he fell out of the Ebert show was KCRW producer/publicist Sarah Spitz.  I have not mentioned this publicly before, as it seemed idiotic to drag her into it, but since THR has, she told me that he had been great with the station for all these years and that suggesting he was trouble was not at all her experience of Elvis.  As far as I know, the only moment there was ever any talk about Elvis losing that job was when he took the NYT job and there was a question whether NYT would him to do double duty elsewhere.  

The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t even offer a reason why they might believe his job at KCRW is in any jeopardy.  Horrible.  Embarrassing.  

Still, anyone who hires him without knowing what they are getting is a bigger fool than Elvis could ever be.  The record is DEEP.  If, as Anne Thompson is now reporting, Elvis was fired because Summit bitched to Nikki (the idea that it’s Penske who is worrying about Summit is laughable… they have been top Nikki manipulators forever and their main Whisperer started manipulating her years before Summit existed at another studio… we used to laugh about it over lunch), Elvis should sue.  He would win.  Of course, he’d never show up for the court case.  And as I noted before, I’d be shocked if there is any paperwork on him with MMC aside from a W-4.

If he was fired to save money and is being smeared by MMC, he should sue.

If he was fired because he was non-responsive, whoever was surprised at MMC is Hollywood’s Favorite Idiot this week, as Elvis being non-responsive is as predictable as the sun rising in the east or Hollywood unions being screwed by AMPTP.

But again, I don’t think Summit actually noticed.  I don’t think Duncan was on a crusade.  He didn’t contact Movieline, if ever, until after he had tweeted and Ray sent it to Movieline later, asking for comment.  If I had to guess, I would guess that Nikki is Anne’s source on this, that it’s an outright lie, and that Anne printed it because Nikki told her (so it must be true) and she got so much attention for the Elvis rundown already.  (You know, the one that attacks him personally, professionally, and in a mix of the two arenas, and ends with, “I almost feel sorry for him.”)

(Side Note: Anne’s suggestion that Elvis was a bad fit at Movieline because he was not interested in social media is made laughable by surviving Movieline critic Stephanie Zacherek and her 6 tweets this week… 1 on the elephant from Water For Elephants, 3 on Pootie Tang, 1 praising the NYT obit section, and 1 linking a piece of Elvis’ writing for the site in an act of solidarity.) 

Was the Source Code review incident a firing offense?  Sure… if you want to fire someone and you’ve determined what actually happened.  But not a single person has claimed to know exactly what happened.  And personally, I don’t think a single person other than Elvis actually knows what did happen.  So maybe we should all STFU.

Of course, the single greatest testament to what bullshit this all is… Elvis’ Source Code review, complete with the pipe that was not in the movie, is still up on Movieline, 27 days later, with it’s 14 comments, about half of which are about the pipe.

This was such a big deal and they didn’t pull or edit the piece.  Oy.

And now, I have shot my mouth off on the subject… deconstructing media and not knowing any more about what is really going on at MMC regarding Elvis than any of the others.  So now, I will STFU about this pimple on the industry’s ass story, filled with mean, craven, manipulative, unhappy people.

13 Responses to “End of Days: April 26, 2011”

  1. IOv3 says:

    Yeah, seriously, are you not upset with your employee for basically throwing another critic under the bus?

  2. Eldrick says:

    I didn’t know Anne Thomson was that type of journalist. She always seems so nice on those Oscar pod casts..

  3. David Poland says:

    She is nice. But she’s also highly ambitious and has a long history with a lot of other journos. We all get drunk, on this crap sometimes.

  4. Ray Pride says:

    To clarify: David refers to my query to Movieline for a comment after Duncan Jones (@manmademoon) had scratched his head via Twitter. The result was this posting on April 2 as described above, with a reference at the end of the very deadpan entry that no response had been offered by the end of the day. It wasn’t a secondhand fink on my part. I hoped for a comment that would make sense of the writer’s eccentric paragraph. We consulted several times before publishing. There was no unexplained throwing under the Metra-train-by-another-name, as IOv3 extrapolates.

  5. anghus says:

    david, i totally get where you’re coming from. but your site and so many others generate numerous page hits from speculation.

    why should this subject be any different? we shouldn’t speculate because “I don’t think a single person other than Elvis actually knows what did happen.”

    that’s kind of like saying we shouldn’t speculate on a movie’s budget because only the accountants know the real story.

    entertainment journalism is all about speculation. someone gets fired in a very public way with very little in the way of facts offered, and we’re just supposed to STFU?

    i don’t buy that logic.

  6. IOv3 says:

    Ray, thanks for the clarification. The way you explained it makes much more ethical sense compared to the way David explains it above.

  7. David Poland says:

    Anghus – It’s the difference between Birtherism and speculating on how Obama would attempt to spend the money if the Bush tax cuts were rescinded.  We have gone past speculation about what happened or why and gone into a situation in which the facts are getting further and further in the rear view mirror.  And when the flame starts dying, people will reach for any kind of oxygen to keep it going,

    This whole “getting page views” conversation is silly, by the way.  The attention on Elvis’ story or stories like it is much more intimate than numbers.  That’s what turns writers on, I have found.  Deadline’s biggest story every week is box office, because Drudge links.  If Nikki never had to write a word about box office again, she’d be thrilled.  It is not of interest to her and she used to mock others for writing about it all the time.  The stories she cares about are the ones that end up being used as credited source material for other outlets (sanely or not).  When you are an employee of a major paper, or Gawker, or AOL, of HuffyPuff, the lust for raw numbers is part of your job.  But it’s usually much more high school than that.

  8. Foamy Squirrel says:

    “If Nikki never had to write a word about box office again, she’d be thrilled.”

    I don’t know about that. The way she writes about the various spin for the box office gives the impression that she’s fairly happy for the various studios to run around trying to feed her their interpretation of the numbers.

  9. David Poland says:

    They aren’t trying that hard. Most of her box office writing is transcription. It’s not the kind of stuff that flatters her skewed self-image.

  10. Ray Pride says:

    BTW, if you click on the image, you’ll go to the Sartorialist, the site of street photographer Scott Schuman, who has embedded a interview from “The Treatment” he had with Mitchell about style. “I met Elvis a few years back at a Thom Browne show. I really appreciate his genuine love of style and fashion, he’s a real fan.”

  11. NickF says:

    I agree with David. The tone of most of those write ups is of indifference. The only personal touches are when she drops perfunctory comments to the spin from which either studios fed her that weekend. The spin is as plain as day. However, I’m eager to read what’s on there with the upcoming summer bloodbath that’s approaching.

    She doesn’t really care about the numbers. They only matter when X & Y executive are on the chopping block because of that studios box office performance.

  12. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Oh, I agree she doesn’t give a shit about the actual numbers/analysis. It’s all about “A studio insider told me…”

  13. Rich says:

    Mitchell should have and would have been fired long ago and not gotten these countless chances if he wasn’t black. That is also the reason Ebert is defending him, now more than ever Chaz’s puppet. He even looks like one.

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