The Hot Blog Archive for October, 2004

Penis, Penis, Whittling, Penis/Pelvic Mound, Penis?

Colin Farrell’s frontal nudity is cut out of A Home At The End Of The World completely because it’s just too distracting.

Ewan McGregor’s frontal nudity gets an NC-17 in Young Adam.

Two puppets with no genitalia get an NC-17 in Team America.

A middle-aged couple – again, full frontal – gets an NC-17 in A Dirty Shame .

Peter Sarsgaard has two frontal nudity shots but gets an R in Kinsey.

… poor peter ..


The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

There was a protest in Toronto during the festival about a very mediocre documentary called Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat. Even though the word “casuistry” starts with a “ca,” it has nothing to do with cats. It is the act of deluding oneself through rationalization, which the filmmakers argue the young men who did videotape the torture and murder of a cat were doing.

What they do not do is to show the footage of the murder and splaying of this cat in the documentary. Still, the protesters came out en masse.


And today, this e-mail came floating over the transom, building a coalition of voices to fight soemthing that simply has not happened… all in the name of the honorable and appropriate love of animals. Make of it what you will…

Hello everyone:
I am sending the letter below to the organizers of the
Toronto Film Festival in protest of their decision to
air the live footage of a cat being skinned alive by
two young men (yes, it happened here). I feel that
their actions are irresponsible and will only serve to
glorify the two men who tortured the cat, as these two
men will be there at the filming and will consider
themselves stars, instead of the sick criminals they
so obviously are. Please copy and paste the entire
body of the email into a new email, then sign it and
forward it on.


Thank you for your support.

The letter:

I am writing to you to express my disgust over your
decision to show the film “Casuistry: The Art of
Killing a Cat” as part of the Toronto International
Film Festival. The cruelty case this film examines is
unquestionably horrific. I have always been proud of
the Festival – of the way it is organized, of the way
it usually goes off without a hitch, of the way it
puts Toronto on the map in the world of the film
industry and is second only to Cannes. However, I am
extremely disappointed and deeply ashamed that Toronto
will be home to the festival that will be showing such
an appalling and perverse act. Such a sick act of
animal cruelty should not be shown to the public, and
it is, in fact, deeply and recklessly irresponsible of
you to do so. If the two offenders had murdered a
child and filmed the crime (as many killers do), would
you deem the footage fit to be aired? NO. But because
it is an animal it is okay??

Countless studies have proven that the first step
towards becoming a serial killer or murderer (like our
own Paul Bernardo) is torturing and killing animals as
youngsters. And as more recently shown, the first
step towards child rape and murder is being obsessed
with child pornography (as our own Michael Briere and
his murder of poor young Holly Jones shows). Your
actions may end up being the catalyst for yet more
animal cruelty cases, and the glorification and
attention that you will be giving to the two men
responsible for the act (they are genuine aberrations
of humanity) is reprehensible. I will not be attending
ANY of your films this year in protest – and will be
actively spreading the word to everyone I know who
usually attends. Below is a petition of signatures of
people wishing to express their extreme displeasure
and shame that the Festival organizers deemed this
movie fit for viewing in our fair city. These film
makers should be arrested for their crime.

Jill Mooney
1. Catherine Pavlovich, Toronto
2. Christine Pavlovich, Toronto
3. Bill DuBourdieu, Toronto
4. Ileana Rontea, Toronto
5. Kateryna Spiwak, Toronto
6. W. Seto, Toronto
7. Diana S. Bokhari, Quebec
8. Maggie Shuter, Montreal
9. Mayssam Samaha, Animal Rescue Network, Montreal
10.Charlotte La Salle, Montréal
11.Magali Ould, Montreal
12.Geneviève Cousineau, montréal
13.Marilou Cousineau, Montréal
14.Michele Forest, Los Angeles, California
15.Jasmine Forman, Rancho Mirage, California
16. Janet Wood, Los Angeles, California
17. Diane Frank, Lo s Angeles, California
18. J. mooney, Los Angeles, California
19. S. Vaughan, Topanga CA
20. D. Porchia, Topanga, California
22. Alice S. Cassidy, Los Angeles, CA
23. Deedee Bradley, Los Angeles, CA
24. D. Cohn, West Hollywood, CA
25. Nicole Cataldo
26. Lonnie Hamerman, Los Angeles, CA
27. Sela Ward, LA CA
28. Kyle Heffner, Hollywood CA
29. Glenne Headly, Los Angeles California
30. Todd Justice, Hollywood CA
31. Suzanne Ford, Los Angeles, CA
32. Stacy Solodkin,Venice,CA
33. Bart Petty, North Hollywood, CA
34. Stephanie Manglaras, North Hollywood, CA
35. Michelle Duffy, Los Angeles, CA
36. Linda Pawlik, Pasadena, California
37. Robert Picardo, Pasadena, California
38. Joe Dante, Los Angfeles, California
39. Sam Park, Van Nuys, CA
40. Virginia Hey, West Hollywood, CA
41. Vincent Vieluf, West Hollywood,CA
42. Quentin Rodemeyer, LA, CA
43. Louisa Relia . LA CA
44. Whitney Cline, Los Angeles, CA
45. Doreen Palermo, Ojai CA
46. Debra Palermo, N. Hollywood, CA
47. teness herman, burbank ca
48. Andrea Kampic, Los Angeles, CA
49. Susan Harvey, Los Angeles, CA


I'm On A Photo Jag

There will be something worthy of words tomorrow… at least none of the Team America characters, currently embroiled in an NC-17 battle over puppet sex, is named Woody Woodpecker.

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At A Ray Screening… Not Last Night


Jamie Foxx & Taylor Hackford Present Ray In Toronto


At Last Night's Kinsey Screening

Bill Condon Opens The MCN Screening Series

And Now On The Apprentice…


It’s Donald Trump’s Dog…

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The Disney Horror Show Continues

Desperate HousewivesLostWife Swap…. The Bachelor

Dear God! How are they going to keep the knives sharpened?!?!? Maybe if Ladder 49 tanks… DAMN IT!

Well, at least the next film is… oh no… The Incredibles!

But seriously, folks…

Do some hits really make Eisner a better CEO? Did a bad run for a few years at ABC and for eight months in theatrical make him a horrible CEO?

The problem with all the easy targetting is that when it turns, all you are left with is the rage.

Arguments can certainly be made against Michael Eisner or any industry leader. But I find that it’s best to focus on the long-haul issues and not on the whims of the marketplace.

Or you can just sit around hoping that National Treasure sucks. But even if it does, how do you keep attacking when you realize that this hulking corporation is also still funding Wes Anderson as his indulgences cost more and more each time out?


Weekend Box Office

I’m going to be a lot more concise in this post than in the one that disappeared (see last post) because I already have too much gray hair.

Ladder 49 is, in reality a pretty solid opening for both a drama and for John Travolta, for whom this is the second best opening of his career, after Face/Off, which was a full scale action movie opening in the middle of the summer. This is the best opening for a drama in October ever, but even the one that came closest, Training Day, was celebrated for its opening while this film is being pooh-poohed. Perhaps writers are being a little too quick to want to take down either Travolta or Disney or both.

As for Shark Tale, the opening is the best October opening ever, but that isn’t really all that surprising considering that the industry did DreamWorks a huge favor by opening nothing for kids/families all September long, unless you count Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow as a kids’ movie.

But as I’m writing this, the finals came in and – taa-dah! – Shark Tale’s estimate was off $1.5 million and it falls behind Scary Movie 3 as the top October opening all time with “just” $47.6 million. And Ladder 47 was $700,000 high, now reporting a final of $22.1 million for the weekend, falling half a million behind Training Day.

But still, Shark Tale is in fairly uncharted territory. As fall animation goes, no other big film has had an October release facing an early November juggernaut and the norm has been that early November opening, followed by room to benefit from Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation with some real juice still in the engine. Antz and A Bug’s Life seem to be the appropriately analogous titles, though neither opened with the force of Shark Tale. Interpreting the box office data of those two films, Shark tale should probably total out domestically just over $200 million. And can anyone really suggest that Shark Tale doing $200 million would be anything less than a big win?

Finally, the opening of I Heart Huckabees on the coasts to around $70,000 a screen, roughly 40% better than The Motorcycle Diaries‘ launch last week. But can it hold up when the mid-wide expansion happens in three weeks? And will word-of-mouth help or hurt? We shall see.

Hating Technology!!!!

I did a rather extensive box office piece… and posted… I thought. GONE!

Woe is moi. Guess I’ll have to start again.

Sorry about the blog outage over the weekend…

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The Stupidest Media Spin Of Late

Why is everyone constantly writing stories with the psychotic assumption that the “trouble” between Miramax and Disney started over Fahrenheit 9/11?

The funny thing about the Biskind piece about same is that he leads with this notion, but then explains, with unusually few errors for Biskind, how the discomfort built up over time.

Disney does have a very unique, anti-showoff mentality which conflicts with Miramax. But it was a great piece of business… until Harvey decided to get into the $80 million movie business. And it isn’t just one or two movies. It has become more and more the norm in recent years.

In a case like Kill Bill, the Weinstein genius turned a potential $100 million boondoggle into a cash cow. But then there are films like The Great Raid, which no one talks about even though it has been done for well over a year, is said to have cost closer to $100 million than $50 million and has no stars (unlike An Unfinished Life) or across the board raves and incredible looking action sequences (like Hero) that can pull it out of the dumper.

Thing is, Weinstein is a genius at finding what is compelling about a movie and selling the crap out of that. That can’t be replaced at Miramax by Disney. And if he just kept doing that for movies that cost less than $50 million, Disney would be happy to put up with the unpleasant part… anyone would, really. Cause that’s where the money it. And as much as Disney culture might want to smack down The Fat Man, the bottom line is still the bottom line.


Maybe I Need A TV Blog

There have been more posts to my nothing post about Lost than almost every other post combined… wacky!

Let’s try another….

Based on those billboards, shouldn’t it be called “The Mountin’“?


Poor Little Roger

Have you been wondering to yourself, “What will poor Roger Friedman do if he doesn’t have Harvey’s butt cheeks to rest his nose between anymore?”

We have gotten the answer today, as Roger exposes the lack of effort Miramax is making for him these days by not knowing that Proof is already gone from 2004 while picking up the cudgel for Sony Classics, now the biggest swinging indie dick in Manhattan, and proclaims Annette Bening, in SPC’s Being Julia, “the one to beat (for the Best Actress Oscar) at this point.”

A good performance… and Friedman is smart enough to see how closely it is aligned to Bening’s superior turn in the highly underrated Valmont, Milos Forman’s take on Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

The fact is, a nomination is a real possibility given Ms. Bening’s industry status, long history of great performances and a thin group of strong women’s roles this year. But Portman, Staunton, Winslet and probably Swank are already a bit out of front of her.

But still, this column, may be the strong hint of a new lap to work for Roger. Soon, the Bad Education love letter with pleading for an Almodovar Oscar. (Of course, that could be okay, even if Bad Education is a very good, but very genre, not really Oscar-y kind of film.) If Roger comes out pushing Head In The Clouds and dissing The Aviator… well, then Roger will have fully evolved to the next step in studio smooching.

But I don’t expect that Harvey will let this monkey (Roger was last seen on-screen in a slimmer, hairier incarnation, eating a poisoned date in Raider of the Lost Ark) off his chain quite that easily.


The Hot Blog

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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