Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 News Items
1. Adult Swim Plays It Safe with 'Black Jesus'
Deadline reports that Adult Swim (a cable channel that takes over the Cartoon Network at night) "is looking to stir up controversy" with "Black Jesus," a series that will portray Jesus as a modern-day black man living in Compton.
What controversy? The controversy of receiving all kinds of media love? The facing of the withering cries of 'courage' sure to come from the anti-Christian urban provincials that populate our mainstream and entertainment media?
Blasphemy is cowardly and boring -- about as edgy as placing President Obama between two ferns so he can pitch a federal government program that forces people to buy something.
2. 'Noah' On Pace for $35 Million Opening Weekend
Ouch. $35 million is terrible. According to Variety, that means "Noah" will barely nudge $100 million in North America.
With a budget of $130 million and an advertising budget that likely approached $50 million, "Noah" will have to gross something around $400 million worldwide just to break even.
3. True Detective's Huge Finale Broke HBO Go
With all the hype over the finale, it felt mandatory to give HBO's "True Detective" a try. What television is doing with long-form storytelling these days is phenomenal and I'm an addict. All eight episodes of "True Detective's" first season are available at HBO On Demand. I got through the first two episodes and they were good enough that I want to watch the rest … right now.
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are both very good as Louisiana homicide detectives handed a career-defining case with what looks like the murder of a prostitute during a satanic ritual. The partners are mismatched, but in a unique and entertaining way, and thus far HBO's signature but off-putting soft-core sex has been kept to a minimum.
4. 'Dirty Harry' Revisionism
Someone just can't deal with the fact that Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" is a conservative movie:
This becomes clear during the film’s midway one-two punch: as he’s torturing information out of the killer in an attempt to locate a slowly suffocating kidnap victim, there’s no doubt that Callahan is going legitimately (if temporarily) insane, crossing a line forever. Lest this scene get the audience too effusive about the proceedings, it’s followed by a somber shot of a fully nude 14-year-old dead girl with rigor mortis being pulled out of a hole in the ground. Forgotten in all the one-liners and iconography of the franchise is that these two scenes show Harry Callahan as a good man permanently broken by the horror he’s tasked with facing. …
It’s only after crossing that line, after Callahan breaks, that we enter the realm of fantasy. … There’s a scene near the finale in which Callahan flat-out refuses to carry out his bosses’ orders -- yet another ransom delivery to the killer -- and stomps out, his career effectively over. In the very next scene, one that allows for no passage of time, Dirty Harry has somehow materialized miles away, standing on an overpass at an exit ramp just as the killer is driving on it -- in every sense a physical impossibility. Freeing himself from the system’s constrictive red tape (and his own sanity), Callahan has seemingly transcended the rules of space and time, and he’s ready to fly.
So, if I'm reading this correctly, we know that after torturing the Scorpio Killer Callahan is "broken" because he believes he can fly and the film itself turns into a "fantasy" because the time cut showing Callahan perched on the bridge isn't really a time cut but a real-time cut that is meant to tell the viewer that Callahan simply materialized on this bridge out of thin air…
Was the unicorn that delivered him invisible? Could be. Could be.
Shouldn't there be some sort of threshold for interpreting film? Not just making shit up might be a start.
During the 70's there were literally hundreds of left-wing movies. But this writer is so upset that just one that wasn't got through that he's deluded himself to pretend it didn't.
Have some dignity man. Let it go.
5. That Sound You Hear Is Lenny Bruce Spinning In His Grave
I was blessed to have come of age in the Richard Pryor/George Carlin/Sam Kinison/Norman Lear/Harold Ramis comedy era. In those days -- the 70s and early 80s -- the thought of a Funny or Die flaking for The Man in the form of an oppressive federal government program that rips off young people by forcing them to overpay for health insurance, was unthinkable.
People coming of age today have no sense of a mainstream comedic culture that fights for liberty and individual freedom; against conformity, censorship, and others telling you what to do.
I might not have agreed politically with some of the icons I listed above … but in spirit: Hell yes.
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Once upon a time, Hollywood believed that men and women could be powerful
'True Detective' ends well, but bails on its mysteries
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