Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 Stories

Aereo Streaming Struck Down 6-3 In Supreme Court

Aereo is officially and irrevocably toast.

As I wrote earlier this week, once I learned that Aereo was using tiny little symbolic antennas at its main facilities to back up the claim they were not rebroadcasting, I figured the Supremes would kill it. Aereo did a good job spinning people like myself with its "personal antenna" spin, but the truth is the truth.

Had Aereo been smart, they actually would have placed a legitimate digital antennae in the home of each customer and offered a service that worked around that. 

Symbolic  antennas obviously fall under "re-transmission" and are therefore a copyright violation. I was all in on Aereo's side until that information came out. 

Why not just do it right?

Viacom Chairman Barry Diller has thrown in the towel, but Aereo CEO Chet Knojia vows to fight on. 

How? It's over. The Supremes have spoken.  


Eli Wallach Dead at 98

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.

Although he was Jewish with parents who emigrated from Poland, Eli Wallach is one of the most famous Mexicans in screen history. 

As the bandit Calvera in John Sturges "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) and later as the somehow-lovable Tuco in Sergio Leone's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966), Wallach took the "We don't need no steenkin' badges" cliche from John Huston's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) and blew it up into living, breathing characters that became cinematic icons. 

Wallach didn't become a movie actor until he was 41 years-old. His debut in Elia Kazan's still-potent "Baby Doll" (1956) cemented his status as a likeable, resourceful villain, and reliable character actor. Those skills would result in a film career that spanned six decades and an honorary Academy Award in 2010.

In 1948, 66 years ago, Wallach married and is survived by actress Anne Jackson. They had three children and appeared frequently together on the stage. 


Gary Oldman Apologizes for 'Town That Is Run By Jews' Comment

In his widely disseminated Playboy interview, in defense of fellow thesp Mel Gibson (a defense I took issue with, for other reasons, yesterday), Academy Award-nominee Gary Oldman described Hollywood as a "town that is run by Jews." The context was that Gibson's series of anti-Semitic comments over the years might not have meant losing his career otherwise. Oldman believes as I do that the fascism of political correctness is out of control in America and Hollywood. 

After the Anti-Defamation League condemned Oldman's "town run by Jews" comment, the actor released a statement apologizing:

“I am deeply remorseful that comments I recently made in the Playboy Interview were offensive to many Jewish people,” Oldman wrote in an open letter to the Anti-Defamation League late Tuesday, according to the AP. “Upon reading my comments in print — I see how insensitive they may be, and how they may indeed contribute to the furtherance of a false stereotype.”

For those who might argue that Oldman's "town run by Jews" comment can be defended as "somewhat true," it is also true that saying such a thing does further a negative stereotype. There's a way to have an intelligent discussion about all of this that doesn't feed that stereotype. 

Truths can be used as weapons and in my opinion need to be used to further a good. It might be true that your upstairs neighbor is a fat pig. No good comes from saying so. It is true that a disproportionate number of Jews hold positions of power in Tinseltown, but there is no Jewish cabal running the town. 

There is nothing in Oldman's thirty years as a public figure that says he's a bad or prejudiced guy. His language was careless and his apology appropriate and sincere. 


Kevin Kline is Errol Flynn In 'The Last of Robin Hood'
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The trailer appears to get the broad strokes correct. Before he died at age 50 in 1959 (the cornoner said he had the body of a 75 year-old), Flynn did get involved with a 15 year-old starlet and did make "Cuban Rebel Girls" (1959), a pro-Castro piece of crap made with the future-dictator's cooperation while the revolution to overthrow Batista was in full bloom. 

Flynn died of a heart attack before the film was released. He was broke and the legend is that he needed the cash or the tax write-off a failed "Cuban Rebel Girls" would offer. 

Errol Flynn was a magnificent movie star  -- one of my personal top fives. But he was a wretched human being, which brings me to "The Last of Robin Hood," which might be the worst film title since "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Sixty-five year-old Kevin Kline is obviously a perfect stand-in for Flynn. He not only resembles the star, they share that mischievous twinkle that made it possible for fans and friends alike to forgive Flynn's "wicked, wicked ways."

Unfortunately, "The Last Robin Hood" looks like a television movie and seems way too forgiving of a sexual relationship between a 50 year-old alcoholic Lothario and a 15 year-old girl. 

As much as I love Errol Flynn the movie star, unlike a John Wayne or John Ford, I'm in no way protective of his personal reputation. This trailer advertises a movie that wink-winks at statutory rape (likely enabled by the young girl's mother -- played by Susan Sarandon). Hollywood tears down the good guys and makes Flynn's appalling behavior look charming and adventurous. Up is down, right is wrong, black is white. 

Flynn's bad behavior mostly hurt himself, but "consensual" or no, a sexual relationship with a 15 year-old is criminal exploitation and unforgivable. And young girls were Flynn's sexual m.o. throughout his adult life.

Errol Flynn's probably burning in Hell right now, even as his movies screen in Heaven.


'Mockingjay' Teaser Plays Like Obama Statement

The "Hunger Games" franchise came at a perfect time. Economically and overseas, Obama's failed policies and depraved indifference to human suffering might be remembered as a Lost Decade. But everything about his imperial nature and the imperial nature of his followers in the Democrat Party and especially the media, is frightening. 

You wonder if Obama, Pelosi, Josh Barro, Ezra Klein, and almost the entire staffs of CNN and MSNBC understand that in "The Hunger Games," they and their love of State over Liberty are the villains:

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Quick Hits


Amazing Deal on 'Twilight Zone: The Complete Series'

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How a Failed ‘Wizard of Oz’ Movie Became a $100 Million Investor Nightmare 

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The Rapture (?) Arives On HBO Saturday 

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Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films

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Guillermo del Toro's 'The Strain' hits FX July 13



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