–WEREN’T WE JUST TALKING ABOUT MICHAEL RAPAPORT?–
Big Hollywood’s own Carl Kozlowski co-hosts a weekly (Thursdays 6-8pm PST) podcast called “GrandTheft Audio.” Tonight their special guest is actor Michael Rapaport. Tune in here. And Sunday you can see the show live. More info here.
In today’s Variety, Disney Exec Andy Hendrickson argues that moviegoers are only interested in spectacle and not story, and used the top 12 box office champs of all time to back up his claim.
You can argue as to whether or not that’s correct, but at the very least someone is telling the truth about the inexcusable crap studios are delivering these days. But even if he’s right about moviegoer tastes, why not spectacle AND story? It’s not as though they’re mutually exclusive.
Hollywood can point to the Top 12 all they want, and no doubt that piece of junk “Avatar” is right at the top. But after the spectacle wears off, what does Hollywood have? After the technology is everywhere and no longer “spectacle” and all the “ooh” and “ahh” is removed, who’s going to return to James Cameron’s lame-o, Pocahontas-lite again?
Again, for argument’s sake, I’m not going to get into whether or not Hendrickson is correct about what audiences want today. But you would think these filmmakers would have a little pride in their work and would realize that the reason DeMille’s “Ten Commandments,” Wyler’s “Ben-Hur,” Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago,” and all those terrific WWII epics such as “The Great Escape” and “The Guns of Navarone,” still attract audiences is solely due to the brilliance of their storytelling.
In so many words, what Hendrickson is saying is that no one gives a damn. Well, we already knew that, but if you look at the home video numbers, those chickens are coming home to roost in a big way.
–USA TODAY: “GEORGE LOPEZ EXITS WITH GRACE AND HUMOR.”–
Just as long as he exits.
LAST NIGHT’S SCREENING
Boiler Room (2000): It’s like a college play with twenty-somethings bringing together the best of Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street” and David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross,” both of which are referenced in writer/director Ben Younger’s under-appreciated morality tale. Giovani Ribisi plays Seth, a college drop-out who runs an illegal gambling operation that services bored college kids with too much money out of a cheap apartment. An old friend brings over a co-worker (the underrated Nicky Katt), a ridiculously wealthy stock broker who sees potential in Seth and offers him a job at his small firm.
From here, the story really sizzles because it takes you inside the world of a high-pressure brokerage firm and shows you how all the gears turn. “Don’t pitch the bitch,” young men making too much money, and the oddity of selling stocks Wall Street doesn’t, eventually adds up to a dilemma for Seth now that he’s in love with the firm’s secretary (Nia Long) and all that easy money.
The real star of the film, however , is Ron Rifkin, who plays Seth’s father — a sitting federal judge who stands to lose everything if the scandalous and illegal activities his estranged son engages in are ever discovered. Rifkin is simply superb in every scene and the complicated relationship between father and son is what drives the emotional center of the story and, eventually, the plot itself, all to great effect.
Though no “Wall Street” or “Glengarry,” “Boiler Room” is still an engaging film — well paced, structured, and acted — with Ben Affleck doing a pretty good Alec Baldwin impersonation.
TODAY’S QUICK HITS
CLASSIC PICK FOR FRIDAY AUGUST 12, 2011
1:30 AM EST: Since You Went Away (1944) — A mother and wife struggle to cope while her husband is off serving in World War II. Dir: John Cromwell Cast: Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten. BW-177 mins, TV-G, CC.
Oh, how I love this movie.
Wonderful cast, wonderful story, and the Golden Age of Hollywood at its best with big stars, watchable melodrama, and a patriotic streak a mile wide.
Producer David O. Selznick, who would forever be haunted with trying to reproduce his 1939 phenomenon “Gone With the Wind,” tried again here with this deeply moving story of the women left behind to cope during WWII. Obviously, he didn’t (and never would) quite succeed in that, but what you still have is one terrific and moving story that’s well worth every single one of its 177 minutes.
P.S. A fun game to play with every Claudette Colbert film is to try and imagine all the pre-production planning and effort that went into ensuring the right side of her face is never photographed — something she adamantly refused to allow in any of her pictures. Sets were built with this in mind. Tomorrow is Claudette Colbert day on TCM, so if you take a drink every time you see the right side of the Oscar-winner’s beautifully unique face, you’ll be sober as a judge.
–Please send tips/suggestions/requests to firstname.lastname@example.org