Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items
Bieber Caught Using N-Word On Video; No, Celebs Don't Have It Worse Today
Over the weekend a five year-old video surfaced of a 15 year-old Justin Bieber telling a racist "Why don't black people…" joke that contained the N-word. Bieber has already apologized. His statement reads something like this.
TMZ has had the video for four years but says they didn't release it because of Bieber's age and the fact that he "immediately" expressed remorse for telling the joke.
Because of TMZ, and the fact that almost everyone today has a video camera -- which means that almost everything is recorded (especially if you're famous) -- people mistakenly believe celebrities have it worse today than their counterparts did 60 years-ago.
That simply isn't true.
During Hollywood's Golden Age, things were much worse because celebrities couldn't control their own image. All it took was a negative word from a powerful columnist like Walter Winchell, Hedda Hopper, or Louella Parsons to ruin a star. Today, there is no one like those three - no arbiter of taste, or right and wrong, in media. No one has even a fraction of the power those three did.
Cameras might be everywhere today, but that only means you can ruin yourself by doing something stupid like telling a racist joke while you’re backstage at an awards show.
In the case of Donald Sterling, the L.A. Clippers owner felled by a secret recording, while what he said was appalling, it is more than a little unsettling that everyone in media would be so eager to destroy a man with an illegal recording of a private conversation. That is certainly not a good development in our culture and news media. But it is still the lesser of two horribles.
It might not be right that we all have to watch what we say all the time, but an individual can at least control what they say. Sixty years-ago, you had no control. A Parsons, Hopper, or Winchell could drop your life and career in a hole, just cuz.
As far as Bieber and his joke... Karma will catch up to this pipsqueak thug soon enough. He's got about 8-minutes left before he's Danny Bonaduce opening for Backstreet Boys reunion tours.
Tom Cruise's 'Edge of Tomorrow' In Trouble
The public has an uncanny way of being unpredictable. Tom Cruise's box office clout in America isn't what it was 10 years ago, but overseas he is still the Tom Cruise of '87. At least he was. "Edge of Tomorrow," Cruise's new D-Day reimagining with space aliens, opens here Friday and is already predicted to sink with a $30 million weekend. Overseas, the results are already coming in and it is so far not pretty. Just $20 million in 28 countries, which represents about 40% of the overseas marketplace.
THR reports that "Edge" got mugged by "Maleficent" and even last weekend's holdover, "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Thus far, Warner's $178 million tent-pole is tracking way behind Cruise's last sci-fi epic, "Oblivion."
In the U.K., Edge of Tomorrow debuted to $3.1 million, compared to a $7.6 million debut for Cruise's last film, Oblivion, likewise a sci-fi tale. Maleficent won the weekend in the U.K. with $11 million, while Days of Future Past grossed $5.8 million in its second weekend.
Edge debuted to $1.5 million in Spain and Italy, whereas Oblivion opened to $2.9 million and $2 million, respectively. Its German launch was $2.1 million, compared to $2.6 million for Oblivion. Edge will need to do more than the $197.1 million earned internationally by Oblivion, which cost $120 million to make.
On the other hand, Box Office Mojo sees hope for Cruise in China.
Swell. That's what we want; Hollywood tailoring movies to please the commies who make them profitable. Just swell.
I'll be reviewing "Edge" Friday morning.
"Edge of Tomorrow" is earning terrific reviews but as I said in my Saturday box office report, this summer has been entirely too front-loaded with everyone's biggest spectacles -- from "Godzilla" to "Spider-Man" to "Captain America" to "X-Men" to "Maleficent" to "Edge of Tomorrow." Nothing is getting the breathing room deserved. If you look at the rest of summer, the room is/was there.
The only tent-pole with some room is "Transformers IV," which is probably going to be the biggest hit of the season.
Box Office Mojo suspects that nothing that opened in May will cross $225 domestically. "Godzilla" and "Spider-Man" could fail to reach $200 million.
As of now, the 2013 box office is pacing 2.6% ahead of last year.
Matthew Weiner: The Final 'Mad Men' Script Is Finished
Vanity Fair has a short but interesting interview with "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner. Mainly it covers the first half of the 7th and final season, which concluded a couple of weeks ago. If you are as big a fan of the show as I am, the only question you care about as the final seven episodes (that air next spring) approach, is where will Don Draper end up.
Two weeks ago, we saw a very different Don Draper than expected. Faced with losing everything -- his company, career, wife -- rather than do his normal routine of self-destructing further (his only way to pretend he's still in control), Don seemed to enter a Zen-like stage where instead of becoming Monster Don, he became a good man.
The old Don would have hit a grand slam in the Burger Chef presentation as a way to show his partner's what they were losing. Instead, Don taught Peggy to hit the grand slam. He also let his wife go with the tender promise that he would always be there for her. The old Don would have used booze and man-whoring to show her.
Don humbled himself throughout these last seven episodes and cut down drastically on his drinking.
This was a genius move on Weiner's part. Now all the tension, hope, longing, and emotional investment going into the final episodes will be us fans praying Don can walk off into the sunset towards a better place.
This is going to be another show that is difficult to say farewell to.
Orson Bean Earns Rave from the 'L.A. Times'
The Great Orson Bean (the late Andrew Breitbart's father-in-law) has earned a rave from The L.A. Times for his role as an eccentric academic in the new play, "Death of the Author."
Review's don't get much more glowing than this - "A performance not to be missed":
What's more, there's a compelling theatrical reason to see Drukman's latest, which loses its way in its final scene but is invigorated by the delightful star turn of Orson Bean, who plays J. Trumbull Sykes, the acting head of the English department of the elite university where the play is set. This is a performance not to be missed.
An academic eccentric with little patience for bureaucratic rules, Bean's Trumbull is an elegantly doddering creation, addressing his interlocutors as "darling" (the way real life academic superstar Harold Bloom would refer to students as "my dear"), basking in his "celebrity genius" reputation and eager to bring boring departmental proceedings to a quick close so he can savor another extra dry martini with a young colleague.
Trumbull doesn't appear until after the plot is established in an opening scene involving Jeff (David Clayton Rogers), an adjunct professor occupying a basement office that establishes his place in the pecking order, and Bradley (Austin Butler), a graduating senior with a privileged pedigree who has written a final paper consisting entirely of unattributed quotations.
"Death of the Author" is playing at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Tickets are available here.
Environmentalists Are On The Menu in ‘The Green Inferno’
Is it wrong that this trailer got me sexually aroused?
Could "Green Inferno" be as advertised? A bunch of insufferable Ugly American environmental colonialists head off to a foreign country (the Amazon ) to tell a bunch of "quaint natives" what to do with their land and lives only to discover the natives aren't quite so quaint?
When you think of the millions of "quaint natives" anti-science enviro-nuts have killed via malaria through their ban on DDT, there's plenty of score left to settle here.
Nicole Kidman's "Grace of Monaco" Sits at a Rotten 3%
Killer Bluray Deal on the Original 'Star Trek' Series: $59.99
The Tipline is Now Open: Nikki Finke Threatens to Return
‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Set Images Reveal New Alien and Tatooine Marketplace
Trailer: Liam Neeson's Revenge-Thriller: 'A Walk Among Tombstones':
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