The Hot Blog Archive for June, 2008

BYOB – Sunday

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FYI – For Those Interested

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BYOB – Thursday…

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Ocupado.

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The Media Foists Its Own View Of Middle America On Disney

I find it fascinating that the media is now having a field day – four links on the cover of MCN and more to come, I’m sure – taking the position that Wall-E’s portrayal of a future…
STORY SPOILER WARNING
… in which earth has been decimated, the survivors live on corporately-controlled ships in which they are kept satisfied and simple-minded so there are no rebellious thoughts – not unlike The Matrix.… duh! –
END SPOILERS
….is all about the people being… OMFG! – FAT!!!!!
To me, the whole attitude combines two of the media’s worst traits… first, gross oversimplification… second, the tendency to look at groups in which they are not – or have been not since they dragged themselves into the media universe – reflected.
Is there anyone whose parents didn’t tell them that too much TV and junk food and laziness would make them into a miserable, brain damaged blob? I mean, really, is this idea so simple and obvious that “critics” look right past it and feel compelled to make it all about our obsession with weight?
There is a real hatred in the media, both left and right (coasts and ideologies), of the “soft” middle of America. Fox News pretends not to have this so it can bow to the right wing, which is allegedly favored by the heartland… but look at its parade of blonde, tartified women anchors and, often, “experts.” They are as image conscious as Maureen Dowd as Jessica Rabbit on her book cover.
By making this into an issue, all “we” are doing is pointing at the fat people and saying, “Why doesn’t Disney feel sorry for them? They are fat! We know… we’ve seen them in tank tops at Disneyland (while we cut in front of them with special passes that we had our producers and editors get for us from our media friends and partners at Disney)!”
Deep dark truthful mirror time, kids.
Obviously, there is a satirical thread in this film that has a Wal-Mart like corporation taking over the entire planet. There is no government… only the corporation. You know, like every smart person with an eye on a world that is becoming dominated by commerce over ideology has recognized for more than a decade.
Obviously, Wall-E is a cartoon… and bodies in jellied pods have been done before. So has a world in which young people are tricked into thinking that all is well and as soon as they hit 30, they are killed and thrown off the ship. So here we are in a generation that shops in big box stores in bulk, in a nation where obesity is epidemic not because we are an inherently lazy people but because portion control and self-control is out of control, where we spend more and more time attached to machines and not enjoying the simple activities of life, like playing in the yard, the way we once did… it all makes sense.
And might I point our, Wall-E sounds a hopeful note, that all we have to do to change is to choose to change our outlook and to make a real effort.
And while all this mewing about Wall-E is going on, media seems to endlessly look away as we and our children are endlessly told that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and the MTV Idiot Squad are what we all must look like if we are to be worthy in this world… without the slightest f-ing sense of irony or rage. You think Wall-E is insulting its audience? Compared to the cover of People or Us or any of those crap rags, it is LOVING its audience. And you can be sure that its audience will love it back.
It is stunning how stupid we are all willing to allow ourselves to be in order to make a civil discussion into A STORY.
Boo on us.

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Wanted: Fight Club Without A Brain

I’ve dreaded digging into Wanted, the over-the-top, uninterested-in-reality or narrative mediocrity on its way from Universal. Don’t even get me started on this film getting a pass, as it surely will, while the same supporters bitched about Speed Racer‘s visuals, who paid no attention to Daywatch and little more to Nightwatch, who don’t care that the film doesn’t really deliver on its Jolie promise, and are kind of pleased that it may be the bloodiest, nastiest movie released by a major studio… probably ever. (Of course, it is such a Tom & Jerry On Crack cartoon that the violence has no impact.)
But Anthony Lane, often too interested in amusing himself for me, hit it dead on in the first graph of his review.
What is it like being Timur Bekmambetov? No artist should be confused too closely with his creations, but anybody who sits through

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BYOB – Tuesday… And On…

I don’t know how soon I will be adding the next entry… could be 10 minutes… could be 5 days…
Be careful out there.

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One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

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Sony Marketing Is Fine, Thanks

I don’t know why Crazy Nikki needs to do her little pissy dance, raining on her BFF, Sony Pictures, now and again… maybe just to prove she is not the sycophant that she really is.
In any case, I am not going to go far into this, but there is no excuse at all for her going after Josh Goldstine (not even spelling his name right), except perhaps that it is the only name involved with the positive changes coming for Sony Marketing that she had remotely enough info on to try to plant a “toldja!” on when the official news breaks shortly. (Maybe it

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Asserted – Peter Berg Is A Major Director In Process

One of the blog comments in the Hancock piece below suggests that I think that shaky-cam is somehow what makes Peter Berg an interesting director. No. Not close.
My point is that any director of substance makes choices that have meaning to him. A director does have a choice about where to take a movie and Peter Berg has consistently made choices that are, indeed, more adult-minded and with each film, increasingly deep.
The Rundown was a goof, but the unwillingness to fall into cutesy, while certainly walking the tightrope, was apparent.
Friday Night Lights took the whole thing seriously

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Welcome, Luddites!

So now the two biggest internet bashers in entertainment journalism, Patrick Goldstein and Peter Bart, are bloggers. All I can say is

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BYOB – June 23

Your space, but please, I have noticed an increase in personal sniping and cursing in comments, and it is not welcome or needed. You can be entertaining without being foul-mouthed and hurling f-bombs at everyone else.
And “are you stoned?” and all its variations really should be banned from this blog and all others. This comment has joined Hitler in the category of accusations that go too far to be of value.

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Going Off Half-Cocked

Based on the early test screening reviews of Hancock… reviews of a film that is different in many ways from the one being released into theaters… I kind of understand the general negativity surrounding the film.
But that

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Hot Button – No, The Stars Are Getting Smaller

I feel a burning urge to respond to Anne Thompson

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Taxi To The Toilet

There was actually a very good film by the same title as this entry… Taxi Zum Klo… apologies for the grab.
But Alex Gibney continues to push ThinkFilm on his Oscar winner, Taxi To The Darkside, now claiming that Think was fraudulent in its handling of the film, allegedly knowing that a financial crisis was coming that would get in the way of a wider post-Oscar release.
IndieWIRE does a good job of offering the Gibney side, the Think side, and the objective side.
I look at the numbers on Born Into Brothels, Think

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Hot Button – The Indie Thing

There have been very good

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The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook