Hot Button Archive for August, 1997

What's Labor Day all about? Theme-itis hits The Hot Button!

GOING INTO LABOR
Oliver Stone‘s novel, A Child’s Night Dream, will hit bookshelves soon. Stone says that the story, about someone named Oliver Stone, is not autobiographical. Let’s hope not. He writes about he and mom being “entwined like snakes of desire…” And of dad? “I hate you, I’ve hated you from the day I was born!… I’d like to kill you.” Come on, Ollie, light that fire!

LABOR PROBLEMS

WGA West presidential candidate Lynn Roth on unfairness to screenwriters: “They wind up writing a first draft, second draft, studio draft, network draft, director draft, actor draft,” she said. “Same pay, too many drafts.” As usual, the most important draft is forgotten. The good one.
WORKING STIFFS
Vivid Video had its first-ever critics screening recently, promoting it’s latest opus, the XXX rated, Bad Wives. Vivid deleted all the sex scenes in order to emphasize the storylines, plots and dialogue. They also went mainstream with their lavish Hollywood after-party, featuring whore d’oeuvres, music by Axel Hose and 25 cent actress rides.
THAT JERRY LEWIS WEEKEND
The spirit of Jerry lives in Hollywood. Someone is actually going to produce a movie called Flying Tigers vs. Flying Saucers, about the WWII Flying Tigers’ attempts to shoot down a Nazi-recovered alien spacecraft carrying Adolf Hitler. No word on whether Jerry will make this a sequel to his infamous The Day The Clown Cried, about a clown in a concentration camp. Hey Naaaaazzziiiii!

Geena Davis Filed for Divorce

Geena Davis filed for divorce Tuesday from Finnish director
Renny Harlin. Her next relationship, uh, I mean, role, is not
yet set.

Kim Basinger appeared in Albuquerque, NM, railing against flawed
animal welfare laws. “These animals are kept in horrific conditions.
They’re dragged around cities, suffering in the name of entertainment,”
she said. The 50 reporters flown in for the event were fed miniature
Snickers and coffee as they waited without bathroom access for two hours
in a 10 foot square press pen, whose boundaries were enforced by four
armed security guards, anticipating Ms. Basinger’s two minute appearance
(“No questions, please.”). No injuries were reported.

Kathie Lee Gifford‘s son Cody appeared this week on her morning
TV show, adorably engaging viewers with his distaste for Sabrina,
unhappy that Harrison Ford portrayed “a kissy man.” His dimples
deepened coyly as he also stated a distaste for publications in which
his father, Frank Gifford, portrayed “an unfaithful, over-the-hill
oral-sexy man.”
Christian Slater is set for Very Bad Things, a film about
a bachelor party that gets out of hand when a guest kills a hooker.
The film offers Slater a chance to share one of the important life lessons he’s picked up in rehab: It just ain’t a party `til someone kills a hooker.

For more of David Poland’s work, check out Whole
Picture
.

Future Projects

Steven Seagal, musician, (are you laughing yet?) is doing a Fire Down Below blues music tour, inspired by his latest film. Unfortunately for stud boy Seagal, he hasn’t seen anything “down below” since his “pregnancy” — apparently, he’s having triplets. Now if only Warner Bros. can get Brando’s Apocalypse Now cinematographer to light him for the press junket.
“I Dream Of Jeannie” is coming to the big screen with either Lisa Kudrow or Cameron Diaz. Whose navel would you pay to watch for 2 hours? Hello. Hello! Get that sick grin off your face, you lowlife!
Jeff Katzenberg has used his $250 million unemployment claim (a.k.a. lawsuit) against Disney to get an early look at the first draft of Michael Eisner‘s as yet unpublished autobiography. Lucky guy. Page 782: “…after all that, I still graduated elementary school with honors, but more on that later.”
Fargo star Steve Buscemi recently directed a series of commercial spots for Nike and the WNBA. Production was delayed when producers underestimated how much basketball player a wood chipper could chip if a wood chipper could chip basketball players. (Answer: seven minutes a foot)

From the Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar Dept.

Jim Belushi, Peter Weller and David Caruso have committed to James Orr‘s Blowing Smoke, a cigar club Swingers for the over-40 set. If cigars are a symbol of career virility, maybe these three should be sucking on Virginia Slims.
Quentin Tarantino‘s heading for Broadway. I’m sure he’ll kill them. literally. Maybe he’ll end up doing the Pulp Fiction musical, Royale With Cheese. I can hear the first song now…
“Hitmen, heroin, sodomy/ Scenes not in order like they’re s’posed to be/ Career resurrections everywhere you see/ Royale With Cheese. Royale With Cheese…”
Warren Beatty is being sued for $425,000 by screenwriter Aaron “A Few Good Men” Sorkin. Beatty kicked him off “Bulworth” because, Sorkin’s suit claims, Beatty has “irrational, incomprehensible, and unwarranted personal animus and hostile feelings toward Sorkin.” If you think he hates you now, try being a camera without any soft focus Vaseline on your lens, Aaron!
Buzz is that the location for the upcoming Superman‘s Metropolis will be none other than Pittsburgh, PA. I guess Tim Burton’s vision has Supes as the Man Of Bankrupt Steel.

This is what's under our skin today in Hollywood.

This is what’s under our skin today in Hollywood.
Would 11.1 million dollars thrill or appall you? Depends whether you spent $100 million on G.I. Jane or $30 million on Money Talks.
Audiences will be pleased to know that Masterminds’ $1 million start will cause almost as many moans at Sony HQ as the retro-1983 trailer did in theaters.
Air Force One’s Gary Oldman and his wife had a baby boy last week. After being slapped, the infant wrapped the cord around the OB/GYN’s throat and demanded three wetnurses and a change of diapers.
Twister 2: Cash Control is on the way. Maybe this time the script won’t blow.
The “Headless Mickey” lawsuit against Disney by former Mouseketeer Billie Jean Matay was thrown out of court. Her lawsuit against her parents for shattering the illusion of Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and J. Edgar Hoover’s heterosexuality is pending.
For more of David Poland, read The Whole Picture.
E-ME.

That's Entertainment

Robert Redford and GCC are starting a chain of theaters for independent film only called Sundance Cinemas. But what’s going to happen to the real indie experience?
It’s 2 A.M. You arrive at the abandoned hot tub factory. You and your date get out of the car, keeping an eye out for muggers and murderers. The smell of urine wafts through the air. A trail of blood and popcorn leads you to a massive sheet metal door. You knock. A skinny guy in a T-shirt opens the door and welcomes you to “Bob’s Place” and asks for your credit card. You sign a blank slip. You’ve just rented a camera crane. There is no candy counter, just a craft service table full of M&Ms and two day old bagels. You go into “Theater One,” but find a 13″ TV and two folding chairs. “Uh, we don’t have a print yet, just half inch video,” says your host. You watch it. When your date stops crying, you leave.
E-Me.

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott