Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Monday's Top 5 News Items

Jerry Lewis : Women Are Funny, but Not When Crude

A while back, Jerry Lewis got in trouble for declaring flatly that women are not funny, including Lucille Ball. It was a dumb thing to say, even when you are in your eighties, and he immediately went out to try and clean the mess up. Objective it’s not true: Lucille Ball, Carole Lombard, Barbara Stanwyck, Carol Burnett, Myrna Loy, Jean Harlow, Martha Raye, Marie Dressler, etc. successfully ran the gamut from outright slapstick to dry, sophisticated humor.

Over the weekend, at a ceremony honoring his long career hosted by Quentin Tarantino, Lewis cleaned up his comments further by declaring Lucille Ball “brilliant” and Carol Burnett “the greatest female entrepreneur of comedy.”

He also said something else that I personally agree with, that women are not funny when they are crude:

“Seeing a woman project the kind of aggression that you have to project as a comic just rubs me wrong. And they’re funny — I mean you got some very, very funny people that do beautiful work — but I have a problem with the lady up there that’s going to give birth to a child — which is a miracle,” Lewis said. “But when you have women like Carol Burnett, that’s the greatest female entrepreneur of comedy. I just saw Carol at the Smith Center at home in Vegas, and I was stunned by how brilliant she is and how brilliantly she brings the audience right up to her.”

And I say “personally” agree with, because objectively both Lewis and I are wrong.  Millions find Sarah Silverman, Rosie O’Donnell, Roseanne, and the like funny. But it is hard for me to watch a woman talk and behave like that.

As I mentioned last week, “The Heat” was painful to watch. Melissa McCarthy running around looking and cussing like Hells Angel was rough enough (and felt forced). Sandra Bullock hurling the f-word and bringing up her vagina every fifteen minutes only served to make me embarrassed for her.

Women are supposed to be better than men. We count on them to be better than us. We need them to be better than us. Seeing a woman debase herself in any way causes something to short circuit in me.

That said, somewhere along the line I grew out of Jerry Lewis. As a teenager I was a huge fan. When I watch his movies today, though, they seem as forced as Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat.” Not just the comedy but the sentiment. Even his cameo in “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” feels out of place — too broad and trying too hard.


Do the MTV Movie Awards Mean ANYTHING?

I know that to MTV the movie awards mean a jump in ratings. And I know that to Hollywood the MTV Awards mean another in a line of a dozen-plus awards ceremonies where the industry celebrates itself. But from an artistic point of view, does receiving an MTV Award tell an artist that he or she has done anything more than hit the shallow sweet spot of the dumbest, most out of touch and spoiled generation since the fall of Rome?

“The Hunger Games” Catching Fire” won Best Picture at last night’s orgy.  

Apparently, other than Josh Hutcherson, no one showed up to claim the prize. Maybe some are tired of celebrating themselves.


Paramount Sure Blew It with “Noah”

Hopefully, the box office history of “Noah” will tell Hollywood two things:

1. If you build it, we will come: The Faithful will flock to what they believe is a well-made biblical epic. “Noah’s” Opening weekend proves that. No one expected a $44 million opener. People showed up to enjoy their Bible on the big screen. Until…

2. Don’t bait-and-switch The Faithful: “Noah” could not hold on to the promise of its boffo opening weekend because it is a bait-and-switch flick that was only able to sucker The Faithful for a few days. After word got out that “Noah” is nothing close to the story of Noah but really an anti-God epic filled with nonsensical pieces of Kabbalah, Gnosticism, and environmental lunacy, the box office collapsed.

Imagine the money Paramount would be making if the film kept its promise?

Currently, “Noah” sits at $247 million worldwide. That means it has made back its $125 million production budget. With a promotion budget that has to be somewhere around $50 to $75 million, “Noah” will need to clear another $100 to $150 million. In North America, Box Office Mojo is now questioning if it can haul in another $10 million.

So at the very best, “Noah” is going to squeak out a break even.

It didn’t have to be like this. The opening weekend proves there’s a demand for these kinds of films. But director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount just couldn’t bring themselves to be decent. And now what could have been a blockbuster is a financial wash.  


Pierce Brosnan: ‘My James Bond Was Never Good Enough’

Pierce Brosnan gives what I think is a fair and accurate assessment of his time as James Bond:

“I felt I was caught in a time warp between Roger [Moore] and Sean [Connery].

“It was a very hard one to grasp the meaning of, for me. The violence was never real; the brute force of the man was never palpable. It was quite tame, and the characterization didn’t have a follow-through of reality — it was surface. But then that might have had to do with my own insecurities in playing him as well.”

Asked if he ever rewatches his Bond films, he replied, “I have no desire to watch myself as James Bond. Because it’s just never good enough — it’s a horrible feeling.”

I have no ax to grin with Brosnan. He seems like a genuinely decent guy. But he is correct and I give him a lot of credit for being honest.

You could argue that the movies themselves let Brosnan down, especially the last two: “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) and “Die Another Day” (2002). Part of an actor’s job, though, is to elevate the material. As bad as “Never Say Never Again” (1983) is, you watch it because of Sean Connery. The same can be said for Roger Moore’s 1985 swansong  “A View to a Kill.”  

Even the worst film (by a mile) in the franchise, the nearly-unwatchable “Quantum of Solace” (2008), couldn’t diminish Daniel Craig’s presence.

Brosnan never grew into the role. Unlike his predecessors, including Timothy Dalton, he just doesn’t have the unspoken presence James Bond requires: People unfairly mock Roger Moore, but when he coldly killed a man, you bought it — and that’s Bond: masculine competence mixed with a barely-contained mean streak.

You need a MOVIE STAR to play James Bond.

Brosnan is a television star.

“The Thomas Crown Affair” (1999) proved Brosnan can rise to the occasion. But how much better would that movie have been with a Mel Gibson or Denzel Washington?

Connery, Moore, and Craig owned the role of James Bond. For a brief shining moment in “License to Kill” Dalton proved he could own it.

Brosnan didn’t embarrass himself as Bond. Not even close.

He carried the franchise, though, he never owned it.


More Proof: Harrison Ford Has Completely Lost His Balls

Last week, while writing about the new Showtime eco-hysteria series “Years of Living Dangerously,” I pointed out that Harrison Ford has no balls. Here’s more proof Harrison Ford has no balls:

Hi Mr. Ford. I think we would all like to know: Who shot first? Han Solo or Greedo?

I don’t know and I don’t care.

See, ball-less.

Jack Ryan. Han Solo. Indiana Jones. All castrated into a squeaky little politically-correct gerbil.

Wonder what else Ford’s had waxed.



Quick hits:

Harrison Ford ‘Curious and Excited’ About Possibility of ‘Blade Runner’ Sequel

Steal the ‘Rocky’ Franchise on Bluray for $22.99

Hot Clip: ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Newly Restored ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ Heading to Blu-ray

Jimmie Walker on Good Times, Guyver fans, and kicking Penny Marshall’s ass


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