Hollywood Playbook: Thursday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Thursday's Top 5 News Items

‘Monument’ Trouble: Clooney Is No Cary Grant But He Could Have Been Greg Bautzer

For nearly fifty years, until his death in 1987, Greg Bautzer was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. The self-made mover and shaker was movie star-handsome, serial-dated Hollywood’s Lana Turners and Joan Crawfords, and was a major force behind many of the consequential decisions that would shape Hollywood for decades — including the installation of studio heads.

Bautzer wasn’t an actor, director, or mogul — he was an entertainment attorney. And his genius was his dedication to his clients (including Howard Hughes — then the most powerful man in the world) and an uncanny ability to promote and ingratiate himself among Hollywood’s royalty.

Today, George Clooney is in trouble yet again because his talents as a director/writer/actor are not living up to the myth he and his Hollywood media pals have so carefully crafted over the last two decades. His latest film, “Monuments Men” is looking like a critical dud, and he alone has never been anything close to a box office draw.

This is not to say Clooney doesn’t have artistic talent. But his modest talents as an artist cannot and never have lived up to the hype. Because he’s movie star-handsome (though not a movie star), practices the correct politics, and is obviously a genius at glad-handing the media, when it comes to the films he’s directed that hit the left’s political sweet spot (Good Night, and Good Luck; The Ides of March) or is seen as a Big Star good enough to slum in oh-so-important indie films as an actor, the media and Academy fall all over themselves with hosannas.

But those movies just aren’t very good. In fact, nothing Clooney does is very good.

Competent? Sure.

Diverting? Fine.

The truth is that his resume is mediocre at best. There are a couple near-misses (The Descendants, Up In the Air), but his biggest hit in years is Gravity and you have to be reminded he is in it.

Clooney’s good-not-great artistic abilities and TV-level acting talents continue to be an embarrassment for him.  

Clooney should have stuck with his strengths: schmoozing, glad-handing, charming, being a guy people desperately want to be liked by… Had he chosen to become a manager or agent or Greg Bautzer,  he would probably be running Hollywood right now instead of wiping away another layer of flop sweat.

Clooney is only 53. He has three-decades of living ahead of him. Plenty of time cash in and do it right. 


TV Review: ‘House of Cards’ – Season Two

Catch up on Season One and then count the days to February 14 when the second season premieres.

The Variety review linked above gets a lot right, especially about the genius of Netflix. While “House of Cards” is well-crafted and compelling in that perfect way for binge viewing, the brilliance that went into its creation is even more impressive.

If you are an upstart looking to shake Big Entertainment to its core, what better way is there to Fight the Power than to appeal to the raging egos of media and DC elites with a television drama that is all about them. Everything about the Netflix business model is an existential threat to very same Powerful People who cannot stop gushing over Streaming’s beachhead in the original content department.


Here is my review of Season One.


Time Warner Cable Loses 217,000 Cable Subscribers

God bless America.

One of the biggest cable providers in the country lost 217,000 cable subscribers in a single quarter. This is in a country where the population is ever on the increase.

Time Warner is going to be fine. Thanks to Internet subscribers, the company enjoyed a good quarter. But for the news and  entertainment industries, including Time Warner’s own news and entertainment divisions, this is 217,000 fewer suckers paying for Big Entertainment’s bundled-cable cash cow — 217,000 fewer people CNN and MSNBC can try to brainwash.


“Noah” Superbowl Spot

Looks “Evan Almighty” without the jokes.



‘Alone Yet Not Alone’: Academy Rescinds Christian Song’s Oscar Nom

We might learn more but on its face there doesn’t seem to be any kind of conspiracy at work here. One of the song’s composers, Bruce Broughton, is also a one-time Academy governor and a current music branch executive committee member who, according to Variety, “emailed members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period.”

“I’m devastated,” Broughton told Variety. “I indulged in the simplest, lamest, grass-roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention. I got taken down by competition that had months of promotion and advertising behind them.” …

In a statement about the withdrawal of the “Alone” song nomination, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage.”

Losing an Oscar nomination is obviously devastating for everyone involved, but the controversy will likely bring the film “Alone Yet Not Alone” a lot more publicity than it would have otherwise. The song and film share the same title. Listen below:


Quick Hits

Reminder: Tax Cuts for Hollywood are the Only Business Tax Cuts that Help the Economy…

Jerry Seinfeld on ‘Comedians in Cars’ Crossing 25 Million Streams…

 ‘XXX 3: The Return of Xander Cage’ Script Will Be Finished Next Month…

Seth MacFarlane’s ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Gets 8 Posters…

Don’t miss “Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet” (1940) Friday night/Saturday morning at 1:45 a.m…..


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