Hollywood Playbook: Today's Top 5 News Items
1. Hollywood Develops Mother Teresa Biopic
If done right, great. But let's not kid ourselves into believing that without Mother Teresa's well-publicized (and poignantly God-affirming) crisis of faith, Hollywood probably wouldn't find Teresa worthy of a biopic:
The narrative, he says, is not a cradle to grave biopic but one that will focus on Teresa's arrival in Calcutta in the 1950s, her starting out on her lifelong journey, and the existential and spiritual doubt that would plague her for years.
"That aspect is fundamental to our story," says [producer] Krantz.
What was also fundamental to Mother Teresa was her vehement opposition to abortion. It was a belief and cause that drove her into the Calcutta ghettos. She lived her pro-life beliefs like few others.
Will that be as downplayed and ignored as the Christian faith of Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" and The Mighty Jackie Robinson in "42?":
“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts--a child--as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the dependent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners.” -- Mother Teresa
We shall see.
2. ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Is a Real Title
Apparently Hollywood is so out of ideas they can no longer come up with a title that makes any sense.
"Days of Future Past?"
That's not a title, it's word soup by way of a focus group filled with pot heads asked nothing more than "Kewl?" or "Not kewl?"
3. Weekend Recommendation: The Miniseries "Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance"
If you are looking to lose yourself for 40 hours in a compelling story that covers most every twist and turn to the lead up to and conclusion of World War II, I just can't recommend 1983's "Winds of War" and 1988's "War and Remembrance" more.
All told, ABC spent somewhere around $200 million (in 80's dollars) on both and every penny can be seen on the screen.
Sure, the personal stories are a little soapy at times and you'll be relieved when Ali McGraw is replaced by Jayne Seymour in "Remembrance." But the miniseries adaptations of Herman Wouk's novels are hypnotic, intelligent, and deliver battle scenes every bit as realistic as a feature film.
Without getting preachy or contriving any kind of equivalence with the unthinkable horrors committed by Germany and Japan, director/producer Dan Curtis doesn't shy away from the mistakes Americans made. But all of this is delivered in an overall theme that shines as a love letter to America (and Britain), especially the American military.
The Holocaust scenes, set mostly in Auschwitz, are as realistic, emotional, and harrowing as anything in "Schindler's List."
The scope is extraordinary. You're taken behind-the-scenes of almost every major event that occurred during the war and are a fly on the wall in Hitler's various headquarters, Roosevelt's war room, and the Kremlin. And you will never forget hte journey of three American Jews trapped in the hellish bureaucracy of a world war.
Robert Mitchum might have been a little long in the tooth to lead the cast as a Navy Commander with the lovely Victoria Tennant chasing after him, but his presence, performance, and quiet authority makes up for all of that.
This is the third time I've sat down for all 40 hours, and for some reason, I'm more engrossed in the story than ever before. If nothing else, the quarter-century of Hollywood product that has come since certainly makes me more appreciative that once-upon-a-time a major television network would invest to much in such a thing.
"Winds" is streaming on Netflix. You will probably have to rent or purchase "Remembrance."
4. Justin Bieber’s DUI Arrest: Exploitation by Miami Beach PD Or Masterful Use of Social Media?
It can be both and probably is.
5. Netflix CEO: Existing Members Would Get “Generous Grandfathering” If Prices Changed
I'm paying $7.99 a month for more fantastic streaming content than I can possibly watch. If it weren't for the requirements of my job, I would probably cancel my cable, which is more than ten times as expensive as Netflix Streaming.
I'm shocked that Big Bundled Cable hasn't convince Obama to sic his Justice Department on Netflix over some nonsense like price fixing.
Don't tell Netflix's CEO this, but that streaming package would still be a helluva deal at twice the price.
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