The Hot Blog Archive for October, 2007

BYOB – October 18

Should have put this up last night… sorry.
Long day of travel… now in Indianapolis for the Heartland Film Festival.
What’s been going on while I have been stuck in the long tubes of stale air all day?
ADDED: Oh yes… let me say… the #1 reason why Michael Clayton is being seen as a negative opening by anyone this week? Because idiots who know nothing about the box office are trying to sell a story that doesn’t exist.
The danger of box office reporting is not that it detracts from the art. It’s that anyone who can go on Box Office Mojo assumes they “get it.” They do not.
BTW… Michael Clayton moved from fourth place for the weekend (2-4 were all within $700k of one another) to third on Monday and Tuesday and second yesterday. So please… just shut up and let a movie emerge. Do I really need to point out that the only Best Picture nominee last year to have a single weeked as strong as Clayton’s opening -ever- was The Departed. A gread total of ZERO of the BP noms from the year before ever had a weekend as good.
So what’s the bad part? If the movie grosses $50 million domestic, $75 million overseas, and scores 7 or more Oscar noms… is that a bad thing now? Is this all idiot blowback from Good Night, and Good Luck. Or is George Clooney and this movie just this week’s victim of “legitimate” Hollywood journalists turning into hype-driven non-thinkers who thrive on the harshest headline.
There is a real discussion to be had about what George Clooney’s level of stardom is. As I pointed out earlier this week in another discussion, I rank him in the #30s of star power at the box office. But at the very least, people who want to start going negative for no real reason should be forced to start with an offering of what number and what achievement the movie needs for them to apologize… like they would ever be that honest!


20 Weeks To Oscar – 20 Wks To Go

I will tell you right here and right now


Next Academy DVD…

Come on…
The quote on the letter in the package…
“A cultural event. It feels like one of the key movies of the era…”
Okay… you give up…
Find the answer after the jump.

Read the full article »


Question Of The Day – Barbarella?

I consider this piece in the NY Observer pretty much boring gossip.
Personally, I think Rose McGowan would make a wonderful Barbarella in the $14 million version. The notion that Universal or any other studio is actually considering that project with a price tag over $30 million with ANY WOMAN ON THE PLANET smells of psychosis. If you try to make it real sci-fi, it is inevitably The Chronicle(s) of Riddick. It can’t be anything good. And if you do it camp, you can’t expect a gross over $25 million, unless it is a Will Ferrell/Ben Stiller parody.
Still… who would make sense in a $30 million version?
Well, she should be young, since part of the charm is naivite. She should be earnestly sexy, but not threatening to women. And she should have some following that this film could make blow up… someone on the cusp.
Evan Rachel Wood leaps to mind. Kristen Stewart would be a great choice. Jessica Alba is right on the edge of this being a good idea.
See, the thing is that someone like Jessica Biel would have to wink at the camera. She couldn’t really make us feel her innocence. And that – as well as age – is a major problem with this character and Rose McGowan. And if the character is so different that it doesn’t matter, than why do it as a remake? (Someone like Judy Greer – who played opposite McGowan in Jawbreaker and was recently seen hooking on Califonication – is just off enough to be interesting, though is still a kinky choice, not an inspired straight choice.)
But mostly, this is an opportunity to ask you all… who would you like to see in a remake of the camp classic?


Just A Pleasure…

Every now and again, I am reminded why my work brings me so much pleasure.
This afternoon, I had the opportunity to sit down with Frank Langella, whose powerfully quiet turn in Starting Out In The Evening is garnering awards buzz and who just wrapped up roughly 18 months in Richard Nixon’s skin, from the first call to come to London to do Frost/Nixon, though a Broadway run, and wrapping his work on Ron Howard’s adaptation of the show just a couple of days ago.
Besides being a gentleman and a remarkably accomplished actor, something about chatting with a veteran who knows what his boundaries are, is firm about them, but is ultimately generous seems to have the calming effect in me every time. The perspective of maturity in success reminds me that it is possible, as there are so many examples of the alternative in our little Hollywood universe.
And it’s not just Mr Langella. It’s a lot of the people I get to talk to for extended periods lately. These chats are a part of what I have done this time of the season for years now, but not previously on camera. Shooting these conversations frees me from having to structure and bring writerly skills to interpreting their personalities and voices. You can see them for yourselves… no interpretation neccessary. For me, that is a great pleasure. My work is now in gently guiding the discussion in a way that brings out the subject. I am endlessly surprised at how generous people are with themselves once they are comfortable that we are really listening. Very exciting for me… and hopefully the viewer.
Anyway… the interview should be online in the next couple of weeks. Forgive my overshare, but sometimes I just feel like offering up some of the experience of being on this side of the table.


Put A Cork In It

Anyone who thinks the agreement today by The Producers to pull their


The Comedy Of Commenting

This started in the BYOB thread, care of THX5334.
Ad Age ran an insane story this afternoon about the theory, floated by Paramount of course, that The Heartbreak Kid‘s soft opening was a result of Halo 3 being released a few days before that movie.
However, some found the comments on the Kotaku website that cited the Ad Age silliness to be significant.
And I say, even more absurd.
My sense of the geek boy demo is that they are, in reality, the easiest marketing marks in the galaxy. They will go see the worst movies in the world by the standards of anyone else and often withn their own ranks… and then go try out the shitty sequels as well.
How do you explain the Saw series? Ok… one gimmick movie they love. Maybe a second. But the third film, down $7 million domestic was up $25 million worldwide. And even the downturn was not as severe as you would expect from just more crap.
At least Police Academy got fewer dollars in as the painfully bad series got older.
Or maybe Hostel 2 was just a sign of the geeks getting wise… no matter how geek hyped it was.
But the laugher is the geek boys on Kotaku claiming they just want better movies. Well, I say, then maybe you should stop going to all that crap!
So far, twelve movies have opened to over $40 million this year. The Top Five clearly found four-quadrant status. Then you have 300, Transformers, Bourne 3, FF2, Rush Hour 3, The Rat, and Ghost Rider. Four of the seven are first and foremost teen/geek boy mega-events. (Rush Hour 3… who knows?) Yes, they found more than the Geek 8. But were they really worried about “tremendous amounts of crap” or do they just like making noise?
Adults who really think it might be crap don’t go. Girls who really think it might be crap don’t go. “The Boys” go to what seems cool and loaded with new effects… boom boom, bang bang.
But hey… you may think I am writing out of my ass.


I Am Shiva, The God Of Death

Another trip to see Michael Clayton reminded me, vividly, of what I love about the movie. Multiple viewings not only let you see small things you didn


Rader Does Vanity Fair

I learned about the Radar politcal mock of the Vanity Fair Tom Ford/Hollywood cover on The View, of all places. And besides my surprise that the women on the show seemed geniunely concerned that the cover crossed some line, I was doubly surprised that they couldn’t show the Vanity Fair cover because they would be charged “too much” by Vanity Fair.
The show, I guess, is not under the news division, but still… so odd to me that you can’t show a picture of a magazine cover under fair use on an entertainment show. That’s scarier in the “corporations own everything” way than anything else I’ve heard lately.
And have we so lowered our ability to engage in satirical discourse that this cover is actually offensive… even if it is on the front page of a magazine that leads the way in slimy snark whenever they can? Or is it that the Vanity Fair cover had so little impact in the first place outside our media bubble that the play on it doesn’t feel like satire at all?


BYOB – October 16


Lunches With David

Ryan Gosling and director Craig Gillespie on Lars & The Real Girl & more…
David Cronenberg on Eastern Promises & more…
Ang Lee on Lust, Cautionnow with better sound! – & more…
Plus… Michael Clayton writer/director Tony Gilroy, The Brave One director Neil Jordan, Away From Her director Sarah Polley, Richard Dreyfuss, director Olivier Assayas, John Pierson, Paul Verhoeven, and Patrice LeConte

Angie's Left Breast: The Marketing Campaign



The S&M Of GossiPorn

The following are selected pull-quotes from the New York Magazine article on Gawker, that in the schizophrenia of the day, both admonishes the horrible behaviors of GossiPorn and lovingly lingers in the moist, heated self-delusion of “blogger as celebrity” that drives much of the mania in the first place.
But the part that doesn’t make me want to vomit follows:
A blog that is read by the vast majority of your colleagues, particularly younger ones, is as powerful a weapon as exists in the working world; that most of the blog is unintelligible except to a certain media class and other types of New York bitches does not diminish its impact on that group.
Like most journalists, I tend to have a defeatist attitude about Gawker, dismissing it as the Mystery Science Theater 3000 of journalism, or accepting its vague put-downs under the principle that any press is good press. After all, there aren


Next DVD In The Mailbox

Paramount Vantage follows Searchlight’s early lead (The Namesake, Once, Waitress) with A Mighty Heart, which started landing on Friday.
Next Up… La Vie En Rose? Ratatouille? Hairspray? Resurrecting the Champ?


It's A Ratatouille World After All

Variety’s latest international box office round up caused me to look up the latest on how Ratatouille fits into the Pixar picture.
Well… it just passed Cars to become Pixar’s #5 worldwide grosser of all time. And Toy Story 2 is well in view, likely to be passed this week, just $10 million away. The film did over $21 million in the last week.
The film just opened in the UK and closes out its major market openings next weekend in Italy, where Cars did $16 million last summer. The final worldwide number looks to be about $520 million… still not enough to take The Incredibles‘ #3 slot and likely to come up just behind The Simpsons‘ $525 million worldwide. But $530 million, beating out both films’ positions, is possible
So do ya think that maybe all the authors of those “Ratatouille is a dissapointment” stories owe the best mainstream animated film of 2007 a bit of an apology?


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