Posts Tagged: Hollywood

Why Screenwriters Should Never Read Your Screenplay So Just Don't Ask

If you want an established screenwriter to hate you, ask them to read your screenplay.

Don’t ever use the words “Lynchian” and “will you read my screenplay” in the same breath.

— Duncan Birmingham (@DuncanBirm) July 31, 2014

I will agree to read your script if you will agree to be lied to by me about what a great job you did in, say, three or four weeks from now.

— Franklin Hardy (@franklinhardy) August 1, 2014

I'll read your screenplay as soon as I can. Gotta get through this stack of Sinead O'Connor open letters first.

— Todd Barry (@toddbarry) October 3, 2013


Cashew’s Diary

September 14

We start filming Monday. When I think about the mall pet store where I was born, my tiny jet black eyes fill with tears. I will never forget the day my mother—who was also born in a mall pet store, as was her mother before her—looked at me and said, “Cashew, I heard Netflix is going to start creating original, subscriber-only programming.” I said, “Mother, what an incredibly complex idea to get across with high-pitched squeaks,” and she said, “My beloved Cashew! All creatures intuitively understand the concept of high quality on-demand programming.” I promised one day I’d make her proud. Now that day has come.


The Man Who Put The Fun Back In Movies

Hal Needham was never a household name, something about which he did not care. He passed away last week at the age of 82. He was (by his account) the highest paid stuntman of all time and the director of a slew of memorable Burt Reynolds movies from the ‘70s and ‘80s, including Smokey And The Bandit, a film that, if you grew up in the South, rivaled the popularity of Star Wars. He ushered in a lighter touch to American pop movie culture, but he probably mostly cared about the checks in his mailbox.

Had Needham never sat behind a movie camera, we would still be talking about [...]


11 Liz Taylor Things It Was Fun To Watch & Read While "Liz And Dick" Was On

1. Elizabeth Taylor as Helen Burns in the 1943 version of Jane Eyre.

The movie, which had Orson Wells as Mr. Rochester and Joan Fontaine as Jane Eyre, was made when Taylor was 11. It was filmed right before National Velvet made her famous. Just a year before, a casting director at another studio had complained, "Her eyes are too old, she doesn't have the face of a child." About this role, a biographer writes: "So tiny was her part, as one of the classmates of young Jane (Peggy Ann Garner), that she got no billing on the credits; and years later when she wanted her own [...]


Robert Downey Jr. Explains Hollywood Stardom

This subscription-only profile of Ben Stiller has a substantial digression on Hollywood business and what currently constitutes a "star" (and who and who is not one). (Notably absent from assessment: Julia Roberts.) Stiller currently is one, by dint of having being the only actor with three billion-dollar franchises. And then there's Robert Downey Jr.


David Denby Does Something Relevant

Over the weekend, Sony freaked out when they heard David Denby's review of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was coming out in the New Yorker today, sending out a dramatic "please respect our embaaaaaargo" email to all and sundry. (The "embargo" date is December 13. Forced to define the rationale for embargoes, their reasoning is tepid, at best: "[E]mbargo dates level the playing field and enable reviews to run within the films’ primary release window, when audiences are most interested." But, you know, trailers should come out four months before the film. Mmm hmm.) Then producer Scott Rudin wrote an email to Denby, which was so clearly [...]


The World Must Be Good if Anna Faris is Becoming Famous

It's always exciting when the girl who was never supposed to make it totally makes it! And so yay, the New Yorker profile of Anna Faris today (subscription only!), who can now place herself on a list of lady actress script-readers behind "Reese, Cameron, Natalie Portman, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl and Anne Hathaway." (Sidebar: at least two of those are frightening and crazy and also chronic liars! To be fair, at least two of them are kindly and human.) But it's a very good look at the "problem" of women doing comedy. Hmm. Is it a "problem"? It's a problem, if you want to spend a lot [...]


The Trials of 'Entertainment Weekly': One Magazine's 24 Years of Corporate Torture

Jessica Alba on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in March of 2001, summer of 2006, and again this month.

When I was a young and odd child, one of the oddest things I did was collect Entertainment Weekly. Our family, like so many middle class families, had always had a subscription to Time, and one day Entertainment Weekly began arriving with it. In those early days, it was called entertainment weekly, and in many ways, it resembled many of the entertainment websites (The A.V. Club, Grantland, Vulture) that dominate the field today. There were long, industry-oriented cover stories, buttressed by surprisingly non-banal interviews with stars, producers, directors, [...]


Fear Of A Black Opening Weekend

The Best Man Holiday is a success. That is not particularly a "surprise." It did not "over-perform," nor did it soar for a "race-themed film," as USA Today originally wrote. To speak of it in these terms reduces The Best Man Holiday to thousands of frames of low expectations. It existed and won. As a film, it was 50% an above-average comedy and 50% an abysmal drama. But financially—the only metric that matters to studios—it was a knockout. Set in the present. Not filmed by Tyler Perry. Of which you can expect to see more.

Malcolm D. Lee's movies, in fact, have nearly all been significant [...]


Does Your Hollywood Box Office Analysis Kowtow to China?

• "Does 'Gravity' Kowtow to Chinese Ticket Buyers?" –Oct. 6, 2013 (Bloomberg)

• "All that kowtowing, and what's there to show for it?" –Oct. 1, 2013 (Rolling Stone)


Advice From Lycia Naff, The Original Three-Breasted Prostitute From 'Total Recall'

When I heard the new Total Recall had remained true to its predecessor by including a mutant three-breasted hooker (newcomer Kaitlyn Leeb, who's already steeping in the positive and negative attention associated with such a role), my elation turned bittersweet when I realized how little I knew about Lycia Naff, the actress who originated the role in Paul Verhoeven's 1990 blockbuster. Even in a movie teeming with compelling females in thankless minor roles—the "two weeks" woman; the grotendously disfigured mutant fortuneteller; the wee, Uzi-toting Thumbelina—Naff's performance became downright totemic. Verhoeven's entire vision of man's future balances on her prosthetically enhanced bustline.

Right after Total Recall, Naff earned [...]


Liberal Teamster Thugs Want L.A. Bicyclists to Die!

Or something like that. Anyway, everyone's real upset over the (quickly fading) neon-green Spring Street bike lane that runs past L.A.'s City Hall, because it… impedes the film industry's ability to mimic Real America. If only other cities had enormous financial incentives to lure TV and movie production outside of L.A.!


How Much More Are Movie Stars Making Today?

We all know that our movie stars are not only a precious natural resource, but also a group of individuals that are very highly compensated, not just now, but even back then, when we were just figuring out what to call them (moving picture heroes? Lumièronauts?). We also all know that this compensation has increased as the years tick by and the Oscars are doled out. But do we know exactly by how much?


Franchise Nation

They came slowly, the franchise films, the grandchildren of the serials. The other night I was in the theater trying to see The Green Hornet for the second time (the first time, the theater started to burn down 30 minutes in, so I had to, like, evacuate (evacuate the theater, I mean, not like, in my pants), and then the next day sit through act one twice, which wasn't really the worst thing), and there was the omnipresent trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides. And it suddenly occurred to me that we were on the fourth movie of a franchise built around a really rather [...]


The Extra Woman

One in an irregular series of profiles of fabulous older women.

The first time I met Adele Daniller, she kept offering me food. This was several years ago, at her home in Tarzana, CA, in what Los Angeles people call "the Valley." I’d come to Daniller’s house with her daughter, Lydia Daniller, a photographer friend. After refusing a few rounds of snacks, I got up to go to the bathroom and ended up wandering through the Daniller’s living room. It was a hot afternoon, and the lights were off. The cool, dark room felt soothing. On every wall and in every nook was art: sculptures, framed [...]


Guess Which Homo Is Going To See "Ender's Game" Tomorrow?

Spoiler, it's me. I am going.

The Ender's Game boycott movement has chugged along in its way. God bless! Yes, author Orson Scott Card is a hilariously foolish man, it's really quite ridiculous his views on the gays. (And other things!)

But you don't have to come out in favor of blacklists and HUAC to skip this boycott, which, somehow, this Cato Institute creepo David Bernstein fellow did, with all sorts of sneaky rhetorical tricks, like by equating a boycott with a blacklist. Apparently a boycott is like unconstitutional or something because it injures people, which, LOL, then what is capitalism? (He then prattles on about the oppression [...]


Two-Headed Shark Fetus Killed By Shark Abortionist

This delightful creature was inside the mommy shark when a shark fisherman killed them both. Or all three of them.

Experts who examined the two-headed shark say it's the first ever bull shark to be found with two heads—somebody put the dead fetus in the MRI machine because why not, and found that it wasn't "conjoined twins" but an actual two-headed shark and the first two-headed bull shark ever to be put inside the MRI machine.

Researchers also claim the baby monster would not live long in the wild, but this sounds like eugenics. Wouldn't the baby two-headed shark have twice the chance at survival?

Anyway, shark abortion [...]


'Spider-Man' And 'Prometheus': The Not-Even-Mildly-Amazing Blockbusters Of Summer

Having gabbed at some length regarding Hollywood's abject betrayal of our cultural hunger for narrative, Elmo Keep and Maria Bustillos repaired to the movies to remedy the defects in their Summer Blockbuster education this weekend. Keep took in The Amazing Spider-Man, and Bustillos, Prometheus.

EK: I quite enjoyed the Spider-Movie!

MB: NO, Elmo.

EK: Tell me why this new one fails. It is pretty audacious I guess. You could not call something "The Amazing Prometheus."

MB: They're trying to be retro. And FAILING to be retro. O the terrible heart-clutching betrayal of this new Spider-Man.

MB: Here's the thing. The myth of Spider-Man is that he's an [...]


Three Interesting Things About These Meh Oscar Nominations

• This is actually Nick Nolte's third Oscar nomination! (For Warrior.) He was most recently snubbed for his work in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.

• While, as usual, women don't direct any films, because they can't, due to being women, and therefore they don't get nominated, two women actually at least somehow got nominated for Best Screenplay! That's Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig, who co-wrote Bridesmaids, which should totally win its category. And! A woman actually got nominated in the Adapted Screenplay entry! Co-nominated at least; husband-and-wife team Peter Straughan & Bridget O’Connor wrote Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which should completely and utterly win, because that [...]


Hollywood as Free Money

“Hollywood is essentially in the business of not making movies,” said Henry Finder, editorial director of The New Yorker. “They only make a movie when they run out of reasons not to make it.” —That's just an A+ quote.