MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Topics On The Cyber Table

Things are quiet on the Westside front… so here are three odd stories that might be worth discussing…
Harrison For “hates the internet”.. but if you really read this story, he is saying that he hates not being able to control his image and private life because of the 24/7 hunger of the web for info. Does he have a point?
Waldenbooks and Borders will not put a magazine on its shelves because it contains the cartoons of Muhammad that sparked riots overseas. Censorship or safety?
As a potential ticket buyer for Mission: Impossible 3, will it bother or distract you that a guy who got burns on 60% of his body on the set in an accident – though any fire on set is extremely specific in its calibrations – is not getting a few million thrown at him by Paramount to compensate or even, legally, overcompensate.

Be Sociable, Share!

27 Responses to “Topics On The Cyber Table”

  1. Eric says:

    Okay, let’s get the Harrison Ford one out of the way right now. No, you don’t get to complain about the price of fame when it has brought you millions and millions of dollars. But after we acknowledge that, then yes, his lack of privacy must be tough.
    It’d be hard to find anybody who wouldn’t trade places with him, though.

  2. Mr. Muckle says:

    Agree, Eric. What’s the deal? He’s a gazillionaire. Even ordinary people wish we could eliminate life’s annoyances. Can we? Does he think his millions mean his shit don’t stink? The guy wants to control his celebrity so that whatever he projects only brings him gobs of money and admiration with no negatives. Impossible. Cripes on a cracker, learn a little about life, Harrison (insert advert for Buddhist view here). Half his movies ain’t so great, either.

  3. David Poland says:

    While I understand your guys’ response, there is a greater point there that reaches beyond Harrison Ford.
    Perhaps breaking down the star system is good. I would say that it has been far more damaging than wide screen TVs to the theatrical exhibition business.
    Ironically, Harrison Ford has suffered the least from this. Tom Cruise, on the other hand…

  4. Eric says:

    Hey Dave, elaborate on that. The problems on the star system, and its effects on Ford vs. Cruise. It all sounds interesting, but I don’t know enough to understand what you’re saying.

  5. David Poland says:

    Just saying that the current state of celebrity media has changed in two major ways. The media is more invasive than ever and the internet allows it to be accessed forever.
    What was once tomorrow’s birdcage fodder is now something, that if generating enough interest, bounces around the echo chamber endlessly.
    The internet is a part of this in a way that is rarely discussed. It is actually an issue of the medium, not how the medium is used. But as Nic Cage proved, banning the web writers from interviews one year and print the next, shitty, nasty content comes from every medium. But thanks to thanks to teh web, we can now watch the rise and fall and rise again of Lindsay Lohan’s breasts anytime we want. Is that progress?

  6. Eric says:

    Mickey Kaus has written on a topic that is somewhat related to this– he calls it the “Feiler Faster Thesis.” It suggests that the time it takes people to absorb information is growing shorter and shorter. See, from waaaaaay back in 2000.
    Kaus discusses it within the context of politics, but I think it applies even more to popular culture. Think of how fast “Lazy Sunday” spread… and then all the variants. Think of the fast rise and faster fall of Britney Spears. She’s had a whole career come and go in the last five years.
    Think also of how quickly our country was able to adjust to 9/11, which I mentioned in your horror porn post above. Remember “the death of irony?” That passed pretty quick. How long did it take the people around you to make a joke on the morning of Tuesday, September 11?

  7. nudel says:

    I had already decided: not interested in MI:3, so I didn’t know about the injury. The last film I saw Cruise in (WotW) was ruined because I couldn’t stop thinking of him as Tom Cruise. It’s a shame, because I thought he did some wonderful work in Born on the Fourth of July and Rainman.
    I can’t watch him now.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Are there not plenty of celebrities who do a perfectly good job controlling their ‘image’ by simply staying out of the spotlight? Jodie Foster seems like the perfect example.

  9. THX5334 says:

    I can’t watch him anymore either. I thought Collateral was one of his finest performances. Maybe his peak before the meltdown?

  10. palmtree says:

    Wasn’t Tom Cruise’s image one of the best honed until he let his sister take the PR reins? I remember reading an Esquire profile on Cruise that was all about how guarded the man was, especially on Scientology. It goes to show how one false move in the echo chamber is hard to live down.

  11. Mr. Muckle says:

    Yes, David, I agree that breaking down the star system would be a good thing. If I want to see a film, I want the film to be good and I don’t care if I’ve never heard of the actors, as long as they do a good job. Besides that, the star system contributes to inflated costs, which means more risks and more losses in the business, which threatens the whole basket. What’s the better deal, great films with no “stars” for which we might pay $6 (if costs come back to sanity), or a pumped up, hyped-to-the-forehead star vehicle with little quality for which we pay $10?
    Besides that, the star system is about inflating celebrity (which requires the maintenance of some curiosity, therefore mystery, hence the complaints about the ubiquity of information on the internet — but they’re complaining about the inevitable effects of the thing they created for their own profit), and with that mindset the same thing spills over into things like politics — celebrities with no qualifications in public office, and I mean W — and elsewhere, like religion (so entertainment, politics, and religion are covered here). The star system is just f**king everyone over.

  12. Arrow77 says:

    What you have to realize about the star system is that Harrison Ford, who’s been very good at keeping his life private, became a star way older than Tom Cruise did. Being a celebrity requires a great deal of maturity that some stars are too young to have, and once you crossed the line, it’s over. How old was Britney Spears when she was first called a sex symbol? And the Olsen twins?
    Breaking down the star system would probably create a real, undeniable slump but in the long run, becoming an actor could be a better career choice than it is now.

  13. Lota says:

    Yes, break down that Star system indeed.
    If Stars want 20 million and 20% backend, then they should be willing to LOSE by the same amount in proportion to what the movie loses. So if the movie hits Big, every one wins, if the movie flops, all are responsible as well.
    Maybe that would stop the phoned in performances which Harry F and many others have been often guilty of–yet walking off with 10-25M for their half-hearted efforts & piss poor attitutde on doing the publicity.
    Of course it would be nice if the Marketers can take a hit too, if the reason a movie failed is clearly due to poor Niche Farming or publicity.

  14. Eric says:

    I’m sure if you were offered a twenty million dollar check, you would have the integrity to turn it down for a worse deal.

  15. Lota says:

    Many have turned down big checks becasue they don;t need them.
    Plenty of good actors are multimillionaires without having to take 20M for a movie. 5M is enough. It would keep movies appropriately budgeted as well.
    Studios should stop offering crazy money too. Good scripts and directors–actors with integrity want to be part of that. This is why plenty of the same well-paid actors are willing to do SAG indie rate when they see a project perfect for them, especially if it might get them accolades.
    No one “needs” 20 million $ except maybe my lady New Orleans.

  16. Crow T Robot says:

    Imagine how a $75,000 yearly salary cap instated by SAG would affect traffic north of Melrose.
    Aaaaahhhh… yessss…..

  17. Lota says:

    heh heh. funny Mr Crow. But could movies get any worse. There are about 22.4 bad ones per every good one. Watching a cheap piece of doo doo must be more satisfying than watching a large turd sink, dragging many reputations with it!
    I am so excited…because I just bought tickets for an OLD movie
    why see a new boring piece of **** when you can go see Red on the big screen (Kieslowski series in April). Yeee-hawski i say.
    Never saw it in the theater (even tho I own it) so this will be good.

  18. Eric says:

    Five million is enough? It’s more than enough. But why not get twenty million if you can? If you think a check that size is ludicrous, you need to blame the guy that’s writing it, not the one that’s cashing it.
    And on the other side, the studio wouldn’t be making the investment if they didn’t think they’d get a return on it. Are there plenty of actors who could do what Tom Cruise does for a tenth of the money? Of course. But do their names sell tickets all over the world?

  19. Lota says:

    The studios paying it are part of the problem, to be sure.
    I am not so sure that all studio people greenlighting certain projects are expecting a “return”. Many people making those decisions have little taste and even less common sense or are scratching someone’s back.
    Sorry Eric, I am just not of the opinion of “take it while you can”.
    Cruise may be near the end of his ticket-selling days–in the US box office, where Distr counts I think some of TCs pictures after P & A have been subbed out have been disappointments.
    I would actually love to see some of the greedy Chums actually be at the very end of their ticket-selling days. Plenty of underrated folk not only WOULD do a movie for significantly less, I believe someone who is an actor first, Stah second, actually would do a better job in most pics. I am so tired of snappy self-conscious star driven vehicles. They are about as interesting and as deep as Toothpaste commercials.

  20. EDouglas says:

    last time I checked, it was the tabloids and print magazines that Ford and Flockhart have had all the problems with, not the web. All the internet journalists ask him is about Indiana Jones and if he’s not excited about the project to talk about it, he shouldn’t frickin’ do it.

  21. Lota says:

    If that tech who got burned really was burned that much ~60% of his body, and all of that 60% was 3rd degree burns, the poor chap might not ever work again–depends on the damage to his internal organs and peripheral nervous system.
    If negligence or H & S violations were the reason for the mis-timed explosion etc, and MI 3 doesn’t sort him out right ($$$) I probably wouldn’t go to see it.
    I volunteered in a burn unit, a horrible experience really. It must be the worst injury of any type. The pain, the way it looks and the permanent disablement. I couldn’t do it again, even though I did a good job of distracting people from their constant pain, I guess.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    This is one of those situations where the solution starts at home (overblown movie star salaries, not burn victims…okay, I guess that starts at home too). Stars are in movies for marketing purposes. If people would see good movies based on reviews and word of mouth instead of the biggest advertising budgets, things would change.
    In fantasy-land where popsicles grow on trees.

  23. Arrow77 says:

    There’s a misconception that we have the right to invade their privacy because they’re rich. It would make sense if the money came before, not after. When people stop offering stars big paycheck, they’ll settle for something less, but there’s nothing that says the harrassment by the press will stop.
    Besides, the idea that some actors refuses big paycheck to star in indie films is mostly a myth. It might work for a few films but they’re the ones most likely to star in a big budget stinker when the cash flow starts missing.

  24. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Waldenbooks and Borders: Censorship, pure and simple. Borders has a justified reputation for being pro-censorship and anti-union. That is why I avoid Borders even though there’s one in my town.

  25. wolfgang says:

    Fees for talent agents, managers, lawyers, etc. play a role in the star system. Ten percent only goes so far.
    Say you represent a client and you need a $2 million deposit by noon tomorrow for that getaway place in Aspen. Are you gonna steer your client towards the next Michael Bay film or a Jim Jarmusch project?

  26. Mr. Muckle says:

    Don’t think that hits it, Arrow77. Actors are in the business of creating a fantasy and promoting the hell out of that fantasy. Why should it be surprising then, that the dimbulb public has fantasies about actors, and that there is a market for feeding them?
    Simple, then. Let actors cease creating and promoting fantasies — problem solved. Ha ha. Cannot happen.

  27. Arrow77 says:

    I agree but there is such a thing as feeding too much. And I probably go to the movies ten times more often than most People magazine readers so I really don’t think that it is such a necessary evil.
    Of course, I also think that breaking down the star system is not feasible but we can dream, can’t we?

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon