Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items

Netflix Shares Cross $400 As They Hit All-Time High

Be afraid, bundled cable. Be very afraid.

I’m old enough to remember when people laughed at the idea of renting DVDs via mail and the Netflix Streaming service was started and thought of as an afterthought.


Leno on Politics, Dearth of Celebrities, What’s Next….

Retiring Tonight Show star Jay Leno sat down for a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter. A lot of it we have heard before, but here are three new and interesting moments…

LENO: There are really only 18 celebrities in the world that mean anything rating-wise, if it’s even that many.

THR: Who’s on that list?

LENO: The people you’d think. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, those sorts of people. And then after that, not a whole lot.

LENO: You also have to remember you’re reaching a broad market. And it’s not about my politics. A lot of performers want people to know their politics. I remember a young comedian on the show, his opening line was, “I’m a Democrat.” Well, he lost half the crowd. Your job is to be funny first and maybe your message is third or fourth down the line. You’re a comedian. But this is what happens: They start out as comedians, then they become satirists, then they become humorists, then they’re out of the business.

THR: A lot of people have approached you about what’s next. What’s the wildest offer?

LENO: Most of them are very similar to what I do, and to do the “Tonight Show Lite” wouldn’t make a lot of sense. I do have this Jay Leno’s Garage channel and that’s been really successful. I really enjoy that and it’s different from what I do here so consequently I’m not competing against the shadow of my former self.


Clooney’s “Monuments Men” is –Surprise! — Preachy


But the contest is less suspenseful than it is self-sacrificing, uplifting and altruistic. No occasion is lost for one of the characters — most often Stokes [Clooney] — to deliver a little speech about the civilizing nature of art, its incalculable value to the world, its importance as a means of defining our culture. To the argument that, “No piece of art is worth a son’s life,” The Monuments Men ultimately proposes the contrary because great art should live on as an eternal reminder of what a civilization stands for.

Ideally, such a message would be implicit rather than so explicitly and repeatedly stated, but it’s as if Clooney and Heslov either underestimate their audience or actually suspect that, perhaps not knowing who Rembrandt, Renoir, Cezanne or even Michelangelo were, modern viewers need to be lectured on the importance of high European culture. The film is bracketed by scenes in which Stokes has to convince two different U.S. president of the very same.

This reminds me of the disaster film “2012” in which people are left behind to perish while art is carried on to life-saving vessels. And there was no question the point of view of the film was that this was appropriate.

As far as Clooney, if THR is to be believed, this is just bad filmmaking on his part. Go back and watch John Frankenheimer’s “The Train” (1964), a brilliant and breathless action film that hasn’t aged a day and delivers the same message Clooney apparently hits us over the head with.

The way Frankenheimer made this exact same case was through action, not preaching. Our protagonist Labiche, played marvelously by Burt Lancaster, is at first totally against the idea of risking anyone’s life, much less his own, to stop a train full of Paris art treasures from being stolen into Nazi Germany.

In the end, Labiche goes full-John McClane to save his country’s culture.  

Labiche doesn’t make speeches or demand anyone agree with his eventual point of view. It is a decision he quietly grows to make on his own and backs up with his own life.


‘Sixth Sense’s M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce Willis Re-Team For ‘Labor Of Love’…

Anyone else see irony in the fact that Shyamalan doesn’t know his own career is dead?

Just like George Lucas’s career died in the third act of the third “Star Wars” film (Ewoks!), and never recovered; Shyamalan’s career died in the third act of his third film “Signs.” (Swing away!).


Kirk Cameron Mocked for -Gasp!- Publicizing His Movie

The Wrap isn’t mocking Kirk Cameron for publicizing his movie in a way everyone in Hollywood has publicized something at one time or another. The Wrap is mocking Cameron for his public support of traditional marriage.

The entertainment community finds all kinds of excuses to say “buy my stuff!”

Doing such a thing is only mockable when you are Christian.


Quick Hits

When Madonna Wants a Spin Class, She Gets It…

CBS and Amazon Extend Licensing Pact for ‘Star Trek,’ Other Fare…

Taken 3″ is a go…

Reports of 4-Hour ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ DVD Cut Are Wrong…

Don’t miss “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” (1962) Thursday at 10:15 p.m. on TCM…


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