The Hot Blog Archive for December, 2007

Oscar Competitor Perspective

It’s a funny thing… we all want to believe that awards season has a basic legitimacy of “you vote for what you like,” but it just isn’t that way. It’s like finding someone you’re attracted to… it doesn’t always make so much sense on paper, but it is what it is.
The two $100 million movies in the race, American Gangster and Hairspray, are well liked by many, but as the critics’ top tens are showing – placing them, so far, at 28 and 39 – respect is a different achievement. Instinctively, it sometimes seems to me like both are still right in the middle of the race, but objectively, nope.
There is nothing wrong with Sweeney Todd‘s opening weekend or Atonement‘s limited release. But suddenly, Atonement is being passed by Juno (albeit on more screens) and one wonders whether they have been a little too precious with their high-toned movie. Sweeney is well off the Dreamgirls opening pace and with two holiday weekends, $40 million is about the top the film can hope for by the start of the new year. Will that be read as a solid start or a dangerous middle road, with any hopes for a $100 million gross completely dependent on Oscar?
The big advantage that Atonement still holds is that it is getting the critical support (#7 on the current Top Ten chart). Sweeney isn’t doing bad there either (#13).
But we are still swimming in the same big pool. There Will Be Blood continues to have an odd advantage by not being seen. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly, Into The Wild, and Juno remain in the “right” position to grab somewhat unexpected BP slots, as No Country For Old Men and Michael Clayton go into Christmas as the two most locked-in films… with Atonement and Sweeney Todd a little bit weaker than before.
The thing about Now is that there is almost nothing that really can be done about any of it. The movies are in charge now. Perception of things like box office wil be noticed, but primarily as a confirmation of viability.
There are two objctive standards that seem to hold at this time of the year. The first is that the film needs to be over $15 million gross if it was released before December and needs to appear on its way to success if released slowly in December. The second is that all five films are likely to be in the Top Ten chart’s top 21. We have seen films from outside that group move in as more lists are compiled. But we have never gone outside of the Top 21 for a nominee since we’ve been doing the charts. And the range has become smaller in the last couple of years. American Gangster and 3:10 To Yuma both have the potential to still crack the Top 20. We’ll see.
In the meanwhile, Gurus o’ Gold’s Top 5 are in the Top Tens’ top 13… a few in that group are likely to be fiscally blocked – Diving Bell is a problem that way – and things will change as the next 100+ charts come in… and as the grosses roll in over the next week.
In other words, the season remains the same…


Sunday Estimates by Klady – Dec 23




I picked up the kinda surprisingly not-high def DVD of Death Proof last night. I have been very curious about what the extended version would play like.
As with the movie – and not everyone agreed – I was fine with more chatter between “the girls.” The more there was, the more naturalistic, the more it feels like what Tarantino was after. There is a greater level of boredom with themselves here. The downside is that the menace of Stuntman Mike is not quite as great.
Someone write, back at Cannes, that the previously “scene missing”ed lapdance was “worth the wait.” It was not. In fact, even in the uncut version, it is truncated by Tarantino, obviously aware that it wasn’t doing much for anyone. The woman is sexy


Friday Estimates by Klady

Ya wins some



I’m not sure that I have made this point clearly…
The WGA will not shut down the Oscars.
There is a world of difference between fucking with a 100


20 Weeks… Year Ender

Well, we’re down to where we were a month ago!
Back on November 15, I wrote: “It’s also an unusual year because so many of these films are so good. Everyone has personal favorites and films they just don’t like, but if you run down the list of the dozen or so films still in play, it seems like you are going to find almost everyone giving a “thumbs up” (quarter to Roger) to at least two-thirds of the titles. That is remarkable, really.”
Has that changed?

The rest…
The Charts…


Bring Your Own Blog, Christmas Pre-Game

Ho, Ho, How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm when they have their own space to argue amongst themselves?


Not Sure How Well Reported This AMPAS Response Was

Message regarding the Academy and the WGA
(posted 12/18/07, 11 a.m. PT):
To the members of the Academy:
Some reports in the press have stated that the Academy had been denied a waiver by the WGA that would have allowed Guild writers to work on the telecast of the 80th Annual Academy Awards. In fact, the Academy has not requested such a waiver, nor has the Guild told the Academy whether such a request would or wouldn’t be viewed favorably.
As it does each year, the Academy recently requested from the WGA a waiver in connection with any film clips and excerpts from past Oscar telecasts that might be shown on the upcoming Academy Awards telecast. The Academy was informed last night that the Guild would not grant that waiver, stating that to do so would not advance the Guild’s goals in its current efforts to achieve a collective bargaining agreement. This decision affects only the conditions under which we may use such material, not our ability to do so.
The Academy remains committed to presenting its Awards on February 24, and will continue to work with all parties to achieve that goal.

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Late Night At The Movies

At The Grove, here in L.A., four of this weekend’s new films are launching just after midnight tonight: National Treasure 2, Sweeney Todd, Walk Hard, and Charlie Wilson’s War.
The only film at over 50% capacity was Sweeney Todd… and it was at about 80% capacity in a 300+ seat theater. Not bad, but not overwhelming. And how was it for the rest? Ow.


Oops, They Did It Again

WGA West Statement on Film Independent Spirit Awards
LOS ANGELES — The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has issued the following statement regarding the Independent Spirit Awards:

Box Office Hell – 5 Major Releases

Updated on Friday, 12:55p


Do You Take This Standee…

This stunt by Fox for 27 Dresses, putitng human standees in 27 theaters across the country when sneaking the film on the 27th of December, is sure to have one clear effect… to get guys excited for the promotion for the sequel, 27 Negligees.



A rather brilliant move, I think, by Miramax today, sending out hardback copies of No Country For Old Men. It’s not a movie-themed cover. It’s not the cheaper quality paperback that would have cost them at least a few bucks less per unit to send out. It is a move that says, this is a serious book… a film of literary weight… and not just some movie with a lot of killing.
It is also a tacit call for us to read. Dear God! Read!!!
Then there was the odd delivery of the day. Shipped by Techincolor, Warners delivered the 2-disc “Special Edition” of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. There were Warning letters from both WB and WIP about the responsibility of getting screeners… but what we got was the same DVD that is every story in America… even the grocery stores!
Even wilder, this disc has a digital copy included. It’s actually quite smart, though the download doesn’t work on Apple or, naturally, on iPods. I think this is a part of the future of DVD sales… including a digital version of the film, but specifically for your iPod or iPhone or whatever portable device you own.
But the screener warning letter tickled me as I got, very pleasantly, a shipment that could just as easily come from
Also landing today… The Golden Compass. Still pending… There WIll Be Blood, Sweeney Todd, and I Am Legend


An Impossible Story To Report

Oy… gossip…
Truth telling in Hollywood is not an easy thing. There are truths that chafe, but that people who are fair-minded get used to hearing. There are truths that open small wounds that fester and never quite heal. And then, there are truths that have real danger attached to them.
I, like many others in this town, carry around a lot of secrets. Some of them are not true… but people have convinced themselves. Some of them are true. In our small town, the upheaval that can be caused by one secret, especially when true, can change many, many lives in a hurry.
When someone I like and respect and trust tells me not to tell the truth, I take it very seriously… because I know they have my interest in mind


The Great Guillermo Takes Us Back To Hell, Boy


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