The Hot Blog Archive for January, 2006

Big Stories Flying All Over

Well, the two biggest stories of 10 Days At Sundance 2006 happened today… and neither had anything to do with Sundance.
Both are about the further shrinking of the film industry into easily digested bites. First, there is the Disney


The Docs Of Sundance

Caught both God Grew Tired Of Us and So Much So Fast today. Both are very strong. Neither is likely to make it theatrically. (Though inexplicably, Half-Nelson, a snow-damaged brain kind of Sundance movie with Ryan Gosling as a schizo crack addict/teacher is getting mondo buzz.)
God Grew Tired Of Us is the (inside the park) home run of the two. It


Have I Made Myself Clear On This Point?

A Disney buy of Pixar for $6.8 billion is a bad, bad idea.
Pixar is a company that has been as maximized as it ever will be. The future can be no brighter. And there is little chance that the company will make a return on investment for Disney in anything less than a decade. But that is the positive view.
Steve Jobs is a notoriously poor people-person manager, made up for at Pixar greatly by John Lasseter. He is an autocrat of the Eisner mold and then some.
But most importantly, why would Pixar want this deal if it isn’t completely in their favor? They have gotten to the point where they can get a distribution-only deal with any studio in town and yet, they want to be bought. Hmmmm…


And They

The second


Bobcat's Doggie Tale

Bobcat Goldthwaite’s second film, Stay, is here at Sundance. The story is simple. A college girl performs fellatio on her pet dog and it haunts her into a relationship with a young man five years later or so.
To say the film sucks dog penis would be too obvious. But perhaps not incorrect.
Goldthwaite ambitiously tries to write a narrative that takes an extreme (hopefully) comic situation and then develops it into a rather mundane on-again-off-again love story. But he just isn’t good enough to make it work.
The directing skills are grad school college at best. And the performances are okay, but even the adorable lead blonde never quite reaches I’ll-excuse-it-because-she-is-so-charming levels.
But hey, it is the best romantic comedy based on beastial fellatio ever!


Sunday Box Office

I don’t have the numbers yet, but an on the run, so I will leave it to you all to check out Klady and have the discussion.
From the Friday numbers, it looks like a solid expansion for Brokeback Mountain. And as expected, great marketing overcomes crappy movie just like the first time on Underworld: Look At Kate’s Ass Some More.
Underworld 2/ Screen Gems/ 27.1 ((8460) / / 3207 / 27.1
Hoodwinked / Weinstein Co. / 16.7 (6,960) / – / 2394 / 16.6
Glory Road / BV / 16.4 (7,400) / – / 2222 / 16.4
Last Holiday / Par / 14.9 (5,940) / – / 2514 / 14.9
The Chronicles of Narnia / BV / 13.1 (4,050) / -35% / 3224 / 264.3
Hostel / Lions Gate / 11.7 (5,010) / -40% / 2337 / 36.9
Fun with Dick and Jane / Sony / 10.4 (3,220) / -27% / 3239 / 94.3
King Kong / Uni / 9.2 (3,280) / -40% / 2814 / 204.7
Tristan & Isolde / Fox / 7.9 (4,260) / – / 1845 / 7.9
Brokeback Mountain / Focus / 7.1 (10,380) / 3% / 683 / 32.1
Cheaper by the Dozen / Fox / 6.8 (2,450) / -40% / 2773 / 74.7


Sunday Sunday

Quick takes from up here on the mountain…
People were a ittle shocked by Searchlight’s buy of Little Miss Sunshine only in that a number of other distributors think their breakeven is now around $20 million domestic. On the other hand, the R-rated comedy – which one snow guru suggests could be cut to a PG-13 and most others feel would kill the power of one character, played by Alan Arkin – does have a 40 Year Old Virgin with a hit TV show and might actually turn out to be an easier sell than Napoleon Dynamite.
(Edited 1:18p) – According to Cinetic, All Rights for Wordplay are still available.
(Earlier entry) Next up, Wordplay… though television rights are already gone and that may keep some buyers away.
This Sundance is looking like a Tale Of Two Indie Industries, as Sunshine may be, as projected, the one good buy for the Dependents (P-Money strikes again!) and there may actually be a very strong opportunity here for the small indies. Films like Destricted and Wordplay and Thin and Stay are really strong niche plays, but have no possiblity of breaking the bank. (Thin is the one film of those that could become a true cultural phenomenon.)
This really is the moment for one of these rich guys to step up and fund a true small indie of ThinkFilm size to roll out a well-thought out and diverse slate. It almost needs to be an all-year festival distributor, building a mailing list and a fan base movie by movie by movie over the course of a year. It’s bigger than Shooting Gallery, smaller than ThinkFilm or Lions Gate. Or maybe it will turn out to be Picturehouse. (What business are they in, exactly?)
Anyway… Saturday was a better day for the festival. Movies were better and that’s all that matters. There were still some new misses that dissapointed hopeful buyers, like The World According To Sesame Street, the too-long but fascinating A Lion In The House, and the very dry and not-as-emotional-or-as-clever-as-it-needed-to-be Stephanie Daley. Lifetime should be pleased to get two very serious rape stories fronted by Robin Tunney and Tilda Swinton… when they finally pick those two films up.


Oscar Contest

You can find it on the cover of MCN… good prizes…


No Time

I closed “Name Faking” to comments after many complaints… but I haven’t even have time to go look at the abuse. Please use this entry to comment more kindly to one another.
I do hate that when I, the cat, goes away for just a few days, the mice seem to go nuts.
Find something better to chat about than one another please.


Thursday, 4:51p, Utah Time

At this point, the festival consists of a press conference – pretty standard, though Robert Redford did go through the history of the festival as a way of answering this year’s most popular question… has Sundance jumped the shark?
Checked in. Picked up 3 DVDs to watch. Friends With Money opens the fest tonight and people are – surprise – more distracted by Jennifer Aniston tuchus than by a movie from one of the most respected young true indie filmmakers co-starring Catherine Keener, who lives at the top of the true indie acting tree right now.
Excrement + Fan = Tomorrow.
And awaaaaaay we go!


Sorry About The Blog Out…

But it is a long way to Park City.
So far, so good. There isn’t quite the excitement this year that one comes to expect after years and years, but things evolve. I actually had a discussion with where Sundance is going with someone and it occured to me that they are really just in the second year of the next iteration of this fest… and we should all calm the fuck down and give them a break.
At least until next year or the year after.
More as we go.


By The Way…

Roger Friedman is doing his regular I-covered-it-but-I-hate-it coverage of the Globes…
But the backstory – you know the part that he always leaves out and always explains the venom – is that he managed to get himself a ticket to get in the ballroom from a supporter and was seen, carded, exposed as not being the original ticket holder, and bounced right out of the place.
That didn’t keep him from sucking the air out of the afterparties.


Golden Gunk

I had skipped right past it, but reader Josh Horowitz was kind enough to transcribe the lyrics to the world’s most embarrassing song for an awards show… EVER! (And I thought Dick Clark had sat this one out… then I thought maybe they had removed teh offending ditty from the west coast feed, hoping no one in L.A. would see it. No such smarts.)
I know it


Golden Globes Show Thread

If you want to fight, discuss or spoil in here, this is a space for it.


Klady's 4-Day Estimates

Title / Distributor / Gross (average) / % change / Theaters / Cume
Hoodwinked / Weinstein Co. / 16.7 (6,960) / / 2394 / 16.6
Glory Road / BV / 16.4 (7,400) / / 2222 / 16.4
Last Holiday / Par / 14.9 (5,940) / / 2514 / 14.9
The Chronicles of Narnia / BV / 13.1 (4,050) / -35% / 3224 / 264.3
Hostel / Lions Gate / 11.7 (5,010) / -40% / 2337 / 36.9
Fun with Dick and Jane / Sony / 10.4 (3,220) / -27% / 3239 / 94.3
King Kong / Uni / 9.2 (3,280) / -40% / 2814 / 204.7
Tristan & Isolde / Fox / 7.9 (4,260) / / 1845 / 7.9
Brokeback Mountain / Focus / 7.1 (10,380) / 3% / 683 / 32.1
Cheaper by the Dozen / Fox / 6.8 (2,450) / -40% / 2773 / 74.7
Munich / Uni / 6.1 (4,080) / -33% / 1498 / 34
Memoirs of a Geisha / Sony / 5.4 (3,250) / -30% / 1654 / 47.6
The Ringer / Fox / 3.3 (2,360) / -35% / 1388 / 32
Rumor Has It / WB / 3.2 (1,650) / -53% / 1955 / 40.1
Casanova / BV / 2.8 (2,780) / -38% / 1011 / 9.1
The Family Stone / Fox / 2.8 (1,920) / -50% / 1441 / 57.3
Match Point / DreamWorks / 2.5 (7.950) / -25% / 312 / 6.9
Harry Potter IV / WB / 2.4 (2,360) / -39% / 1003 / 284.6
Walk the Line / Fox / 2.2 (2,530) / -14% / 864 / 98.4
The Producers / Uni / 1.6 (2,000) / -43% / 785 / 17.5
Grandma’s Boys / Fox / 1.5 (730) / -60% / 2016 / 5.6
Syriana / WB / 1.4 (2,010) / -45% / 706 / 44.2
Pride and Prejudice / Focus / .67 (1,790) / -34% / 375 / 26.2
The Matador / Weinstein Co / .53 (9,460) / 91% / 56 / 1


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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