Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items
Malkin Rips Colbert: 'Me So Stupid. You So Funny!'
Over at Townhall, Michelle Malkin brutalizes Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's left-wing golden boy, who has been dealing for the better part of a week with charges of racism from the political left and right. Because he's in a special protected class, Colbert thought he could get away with a skit that played on every Asian stereotype imaginable, from the exaggerated "ching-chong-ding-dong" dialect to the sexual "I take you to Bangkok" slang that's been used for decades to humiliate Asian women.
Malkin correctly points out that Colbert would never single any other group out for this kind of satire, especially Muslims. She also shovels hell in the face of conservatives who defend Colbert because "it's cool" to do so.
I know the difference between good-natured ethnic humor and the mean-spirited kind. One of the reasons I love comedians and sitcoms from the 1970's is because they threaded this needle perfectly. "All In the Family," "Sanford and Son," "Good Times," Carlin, Brenner, Pryor, etc. weren't just about sex jokes. They made fun of everyone without demeaning anyone.
Colbert crossed the line because he was laughing at, and his fans were laughing at, Asians. Malkin lays it out:
"Oh, I ruv tea. It's so good for you. You so pretty, American girl," Colbert, in his conservative talk-show host persona, jibber-jabbers in the 2005 segment. "You come here. You kiss my tea make her sweet. I need no sugar when you around. Come on my rickshaw, I give you a ride to Bangkok." Forward to 2014: To mock Snyder's recent creation of a foundation to benefit Native Americans, Colbert replayed the skit and jeered in character that he was "willing to show the Asian community that I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever."
You can see who the butt of the joke is there, and it is not bigots or Colbert's politically correct target of the day: Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
Intent matters. With the use of the name Redskins, Snyder is not trying to demean the American Indian, which is likely why polls show that Indians take no offense from the name.
Colbert was mocking and demeaning Asians, Asians took offense, and they had every right to.
Jerry Bruckheimer Says 'Top Gun 2' Will Pit Tom Cruise Against Drones
Death Sucks: Movie Stars Can't Cap a Legacy
James Gandolfini's last film.
Trailer: Brittany Murphy's last film.
Almost no one knows when they are going to die. It's either a sudden accident or something like a heart attack, or a prognosis that comes with a death sentence that means months of illness and anguish before the Grim Reaper finally knocks. Even with some time, with modern medicine, we don't really know we're going to die because we hold out hope with chemotherapy or some other kind of cure. We keep fighting, refusing to accept we'll lose the fight.
This reality for all of us makes things tough on movie stars, especially legends who would like to go out on a cinematic high-note that burnishes the legend. Since you can't plan for your death, you can't cap your career in the way of your choosing.
There's no question that the best example of this is John Wayne's swan song "The Shootist." Not only was it a great film, every scene worked as a metaphor for the Duke himself, right down to his character's terminal cancer.
The other extreme is Joan Crawford. After decades of living the life and enjoying the legendary career of The Ideal Movie Star (including a glamorous era on the board of Pepsi), her final theatrical film was a low-budget piece of forgettable monster crap called "Trog." If anything, that infamous final appearance only aided in the brutally unfair "camp" label that followed Crawford around for decades after the whole "Mommie Dearest" thing.
This has to be something that weighs on movie stars. Everyone wants to go out like the Duke. No one wants to go out like Joan. But no one is going to stop acting because their last film is the perfect project to go out on. Maybe Cary Grant did, but there's only one Cary Grant.
If you’re an actor, you are always an actor. You want to act and be seen and take chances in the hopes that this one will be the "Pulp Fiction" that launches you to the next level. And sometimes, when you are just going along doing your thing and taking chances with the best roles you can find, the Grim Reaper's gunna come a'calling and he will decide which project caps your career.
It is also different for actors in the sense that they have so little control over their own careers. Even if given a movie-style disease that allows you to be robust and healthy for six-months before the trap door opens, it is not like an actor can greenlight their own legacy-capping cinematic exit.
Musicians can. When Warren Zevon received his prognosis negative, he ran into the studio and crafted what he knew would be his final album.
Granted, in most cases the very last project doesn't matter, the overall body of work does. Still, it is interesting that some of the vainest people in the world choose a profession that guarantees they will have no control over how they are remembered or perceived.
'An Inconvenient Truth' Producers Talking Sequel
Judging by the quotes in the Hollywood Reporter article, no one involved in the first "Inconvenient Truth" film intends to do anything except tell another bunch of lies.
[Producer Lawrence] Bender believes that during the ensuing years, the fossil-fuel industry has changed the dialogue with a misinformation campaign. "They did a really good job of pushing back and confusing people," he says. "Some people actually believe global warming doesn't exist."
Environmental activist Laurie David also believes a sequel should be on the agenda. "God, do we need one," she says. "Everything in that movie has come to pass. At the time we did the movie, there was Hurricane Katrina; now we have extreme weather events every other week. The update has to be incredible and shocking."
My guess is that what the producers would like to do is clean up their mess. The years that have passed since the film came out have not been kind to Al Gore and his merry band eco-freaks. The planet has stopped warming, we are getting fewer hurricanes (not more as the film predicted), and the oh-so dramatic hockey hockey stick moment has been proven a lie.
The left never retreats, apologizes, or admits they were mistaken. With the power of media and Hollywood, they just rewrite history and push on.
Fire TV: Amazon Launches New Device for Streaming Video
You might ask yourself why this is such a big deal when people can already stream Amazon Prime through their Bluray players and a Roku.
The reason is the Amazon brand. Once Amazon starts selling a streaming video device, it will be introduced to millions of Amazon customers, many of whom are only tech savvy enough to use the Amazon website. Fire TV will tell who-knows-how-many that Amazon will hold your hand with this device -- just like they did with online books through the Kindle.
Amazon knows that millions who have no idea what a Roku is or those apps on their Bluray players are, will be a lot more willing to move towards Streaming if Amazon leads the way.
Moreover, how many already pay for Amazon Prime but don't use the Streaming service?
This is a huge move for Streaming and another blow against the evil of bundled cable.
It is also a sign that a massive player like Amazon is committed to this technology and understands it is the future.
According to Verge, Fire TV costs $99 and ships today.
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