The Hot Blog Archive for February, 2008

BYOB – Thursday 2/14


Hot Button – Separating The Blogs From The News

Here is the problem for the TMers … the spirit of blogging, exposing who they really are and how they really feel is nasty, dangerous stuff for them. You have to wonder whether they can ever go back now that the genie is out of the bottle.
Not every journalist is a born debater … or creative writer, for that matter. Not every journalist is built to write a blog.
And what Traditional Media should understand better than anyone on the web and doesn’t seem to understand at all … there is a basic law of diminishing returns on the web. The more a paper turns into a series of mediocre blogs by minor personalities, the closer to the end of that paper we get.
Just ask Nick Denton, who humiliatingly has been forced to return to heavy lifting for Gawker Media as the harsh reality of Blogging As Business caught up with him and his business, who has learned that niche really is niche. So will Traditional Media. (After I wrote the foundation of this piece, on Sunday night, Defamer I, Mark Lisanti, announced his exit and word is that Denton is looking for a “name” blogger from outside of the Gawker Media family to replace him … a first time, desperate act.)

The rest…

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The Irresistible Force

We have now won east and west, north and south, and across the heartland of this country we love. We have given young people a reason to believe, and brought folks back to the polls who want to believe again. And we are bringing together Democrats and Independents and Republicans; blacks and whites; Latinos and Asians; small states and big states; Red States and Blue States into a United States of America.
This is the new American majority. This is what change looks like when it happens from the bottom up. And in this election, your voices will be heard.
( The rest of the speech… )


BYOB – Strike Ends

And so it is done…
Everybody happy?


Following Julian

I don’t quite know where the obsession with beating up on Julian Schnabel started. It kinda pisses me off. The guy has done some very beautiful work, gotten some truly spectacular performances, and is one of the great characters/drama queens of the film world. For me, someone who gets pissed off about a guy who wears pajamas everywhere just has their hat on too tight.
Anyway… it was amusing to me that Page Six was so busy smacking at JS and so uninterested in the story behind the story that they missed the money shot of their piece today. (To be fair, it appears that Schnabel found the book still in galleys, as there is no trace of the book itself on the web.)
Here’s the piece…
And here are some images of Rula Jebreal, an Italian immigrant from Palestine, now TV journalist, turned book writer is a thoughtful voice on immigration issues, clearly willing to fight with the men’s club in Italy, and simply, one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. (I had the pleasure of a quick “hello” at a TDB&TB event a few months back.)
I predict international superstardom for a world class beauty with a world class brain with a world class promoter (and talent) like Julian by her side in the fight.
Good for both of them. Of course it is irrelevant on some level that this woman makes mere mortals dumb in her presence… but let’s not be naive. If she is everything that has been suggested about her intellectually and she gets to look like a supermodel, she’s one in a billion.
Don’t be hatin’…


HD Is Dead, Long Live HD

This body blow cannot be underestimated.
As an owner of a Blu-ray and an HD player, I am quite conscious of how retailers are handling the product. One sign of the slow growth has been at retailers who have embraced DVD, but have not stocked hi-def, such as the major bookstores, groceries with larger DVD sections, etc. Even Target and Wal-Mart have minor stock in hi-def. Everyone seems to be waiting, leaving consumers who are not looking for new technology unaware that anything of significance is even out there.
But there have been two places that have consistantly offered prime placement for both formats.
No more.
There was this announcement from Best Buy today that they will give preferential placement to Blu-ray from now on. But this is really the coup de grace… Netflix sent this note out to customers today…


Why Studios Don't Matter To Marketing

This one is on me, but it makes a bigger point.
I just found an e-postcard from Warner Bros for what I assumed was a Paramount movie… Fool’s Gold.
Why did I assume? Because this was a kind of film that Paramount was making over and over.
Of course, Warners made New Line franchise Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Fox style I Am Legend and Music & Lyrics, Universal style License To Wed, etc.
Of course, Paramount’s Beowulf was classic WB, Fox’s Epic Movie was pure Dimension, Universal’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was built for Sony, and Will Ferrell can’t seem to work for one studio for more than a few months… but hey, we even have Judd Apatow at Sony doing a Will Ferrell movie with John C Reilly as Will and flopping in December.
Only Disney is DISNEY these days.


Down The Corridor With Roy

For me, All That Jazz is one of the seminal movies of life.
And for Roy Scheider, it was, as much as Jaws and Marathon Man, his quintessential role. Scheider was a minimalist in front of the camera… so much so that it sometimes seemed like he wasn’t working at all.
Schlesinger and Friedkin and others seemed to know this, using him as close-to-the-vest characters, often with some secret waiting to emerge. He was the perfect center to Spielberg


Hillary Is On Jack's Bucket List

This was waiting for me on my voicemail when I arrived home tonight…
Nicholson for Clinton
(This link should launch a small QT audio file for you.)


Weekend Estimates by Klady – Feb 10

Not all that interesting this week. How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days opened to $23.7 million five years and this opening is almost the same. Women still want to see if two bottle blondies can make it work.
First Sunday opened to $17.7 million… so Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins is in line with that too. People still want to see wacky black families.
Hanna Mon Milley dropped… duh… and boo-hoo, Disney will have to live with just $54 million from a $5 million concert movie that they never really meant for theatrical anyway, now the next giant Home Ent release, as it likely beats the December trio to the DVD store.
Juno chugs along, easily the biggest Fox Searchlight film ever… but still likely to come up short of Knocked Up, though a little ahead of Superbad.
There Will Be Blood will pass $30 million, heading to the mid-30s… a milkshake drinking success for Paramount Vantage, even if the film cost about the same as money-losing Babel, The one advantage, financially, being that this film had two months less advertising money to burn while waiting around not to win the Oscar.
No Country For Old Men and Atonement both keep chugging along with excessively-discussed-by-journos $2m-n-Change weekends. Michael Clayton fell off a little this week to $1.6 million as the DVD release started getting touted heavily. Atonement will end up about $10 million past Pride & Prejudice for its nomination reward… which is probably less than it cost them in ads after being nom’ed… though the Oscar profit tends to be foreign & DVD.
And my personal fave… sometime in the next week, The Bucket List will pass Cloverfield as the old guys with bad reviews push past the young guys with overly generous reviews and we are all reminded yet again that old people and women and every bit as powerful as niche plays as geek boys… they just aren’t as easy to suck in on one weekend.



Over the transom tonight…

The Envelope | Feb. 9, 2008 | 7:55 PM PT

WGA strike not over Monday
Read more:

This link doesn’t as of this writing, link to the story.
There is this story.
All of it hinges on an LA Times-er in the hall, who is not supposed to be reporting. Kinda scabby. On the other hand, we are all getting and hearing text messages.
NY went fine. LA is going fine. The strike is over. The only question is what day it ends.
One group of people are pretty sure that the committees voting tomorrow late morning will approve and then suspend the strike. Others are saying that they will wait for a membership vote. But going into the meeting, the expectation was that the vote was 10 days to 2 weeks away, but the strike would be suspended on Sunday afternoon.
Just what working WGA members need… another week off! Genius.


Friday Estimates by Klady – 1/8



BYOB – Strike Ending Weekend

So… here is some space for you all to stretch out.
The strike is, in effect, over… as it effectively has been since the DGA did their deal.
If, in fact, the Guild got the added bump of a 2% residual on streaming that starts in a couple of years, as the NYT reports in their buried lead, there is REALLY no excuse for even considering a vote against.
Right now, the thing I will most strongly take away from this strike is how the notions of how to work a strike have become terribly outdated and spectacularly irrelevant.
I don’t know why they keep reaching for the “it’s not over yet” crap, but it really is the last gasp of an aging culture. Settling this strike was never about the Oscars or the Golden Globes or Jay Leno or The Agents… it was, is, and will always be about money, money, ego, and money.
Anyway… there is Hannah Montana, Hudson/McConaughey 2, and “urban” comedy to discuss. The beat goes on…



I got a big laugh out of the New York Times anointing a new Strike Queen in Laeta Kalogridis, who runs, with others,
When there is nothing left to write about there is always an agent out there creating a legend. Back in November, it was Nikki Finke deifying Bryan Lourd, who was going to save the industry with back channel aplomb. This time, it’s Michael Cieply selling Endeavor’s Rick Rosen’s scam that his client ended the strike. Good gosh a mighty!
I actually respect Laeta’s work during this strike. The site has been a hotbed of hyper-drooling excess at times, but unlike Crazy Nikki, she never claimed to be acting as a journalist. And even in the face of this silly NYT lede, she shows modesty and grace.
But her agent does not.
Long live the queen.

20 Weeks To Oscar – 17 Days To Go

The Ten Rules Of The Season
Don’t Be The Frontrunner … Unless You Can’t Lose
Don’t Start Late … Unless You Have The Nuts
Being The Underdog Requires Illusion
Every Scheme Works … Every Scheme Fails
Critics Only Matter When Unanimous


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