Hollywood Playbook: Friday's Top 5 News Items

Hollywood Playbook: Friday's Top 5 News Items

Latest News In the Bryan Singer Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

THR reports that in 2000 director Bryan Singer’s accuser, Michael Egan, filed a suit claiming to have been sexually abused at a 1999 party involving Singer associates. Egan didn’t name Singer in this particular lawsuit. Singer’s attorney claims this is proof that the new suit is bogus. The other side is likely to argue that the 2000 suit establishes that Egan made these charges at the time. The time in question in the 2000 lawsuit does match the time-frame in the new suit.

Named as defendants in the 2000 suit are Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley. Both are also named in the new lawsuit, not as defendants, but as  friends and business associates of Singer’s. Collins-Rector apparently owned the mansion where some of the alleged abuse took place. He was also the chairman of Digital Entertainment Network, a company that Singer was an investor in.

Collins-Rector was convicted of luring minors across state lines for sexual acts in 2004 and is now a registered sex offender.

Chad Shackley is named in the new lawsuit as the older brother of an Egan high school friend. Shackley lived at the mansion where the alleged abuse took place.

As of now, we don’t know the final disposition of the 2000 suit.

In 1997, while directing “Apt Pupil,” Singer was accused of forcing underage boys to get naked during a shower scene. Lack of evidence ended that lawsuit.

Rumors surrounding Singer’s preference for young boys are apparently nothing new.

Singer’s accuser held a press conference with his attorney Thursday. He claims to have gone to the F.B.I. and/or the LAPD about the abuse back in 1999 or 2000. As far as the timing of his current suit, Egan said it had nothing to do with next month’s release of Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” The statute of limitations is just days from running out in Hawaii and he therefore had to file now or never.

The age of consent in Hawaii is 16. Egan was 17 when he claims Singer flew him there. Egan is claiming Singer outright raped him twice in Hawaii, so the age of consent is not an issue.

Through his attorney, Singer is denying all of these allegations and has threatened to countersue Egan for defamation.

The fallout has already begun for Singer. The director cancelled a scheduled appearance at WonderCon this weekend. Singer’s name has also been pulled from promotion surrounding the ABC series “Black Box.” Singer is an executive producer of the series.

Singer is currently in pre-production on the next X-Men franchise installment, “X-Men: Apocalypse.”

Singer’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” hits theatres in five weeks. Analysts don’t believe the lawsuit will do much all that much damage at the box office. It is not going to help though. A lot of news can come out between now and then.   


Box Office: Johnny Depp’s ‘Transcendence’ Smells Like a Flop

At Rotten Tomatoes, Johnny Depp’s “Transcendence” got murdered by critics with an 18% rotten rating. That is a mere one-point better than “A Haunted House 2,” a cheap comedy starring a Wayans.

THR reports that the budget is in the $100 million range but “Transcendence” is only expected to haul $20 – $22 million this weekend.

The  trailer looks awful.

“Heaven Is for Real” is predicted to land somewhere around $17 million. This might be the sleeper that surprises everyone.

James Pinkerton reviews “Transcendence” for Breitbart here and writes…

Only Hollywood would make a movie in which the end of the Internet–indeed, the end of electricity itself–is treated as a happy outcome. Oh, sorry, was that a spoiler of sorts? Well, not really, because that happy ending is shown in the very first scene of the movie; everything we are about to see in the film is a flashback.

It still looks like a remake of “The Lawnmower Man.”


Summer Movie Memories: Entertainment Weekly Sucks, But…

….Their ongoing list of the greatest summer films of all time is surprisingly not lame. There is still time. There are still a few titles to go. Don’t be surprised if something like Matt Damon’s “Green Zone” and how it woke people up to the evils of Bush Inc. lands at number one.

EW also got one thing horribly, factually wrong:

Maverick isn’t just a pilot. He’s the best pilot there ever was or ever will be. He’s not the best of the best: He’s the best of the best…of the best.

No, Iceman is the best of the best of the best. Iceman won Top Gun, which is one of the complicated aspects of the film and Cruise’s character that people fail to appreciate.

Because I have such a bad memory, what I remember about summer movies is fleeting. Not so much a memory but a *feeling* that comes with a title.

The words “summer movies” takes me back to the summers of ’89 – ’92, which were spent at a drive-in movie theatre most every Friday night. The wife and I saw everything then, even “Karate Kid III.”

In those days we had almost no money. The drive-in was cheap; two or three movies for the price of one. Best of all, you could bring in your own food, which saved a fortune. We’d pack that old cooler and in-between movies heated up hot dogs wrapped in tinfoil on the engine block.

The movies I best remember are the ones that surprised. “Road House.” Holy shit, where did that come from? “The Sandlot” is another.

Mostly I remember sitting in my old Buick, smoking cigarettes, and watching great films under the stars while holding on to my new bride – who was usually fast asleep.

To this day, the sound of tires slowly crunching gravel always takes me back to a time when the world and I were still young.


 HuffPo: Yes, Netflix And Hulu Are Starting To Kill Cable

I’ve been writing about cord-cutting for years now. To see it finally happening, and at a rate much faster than I had even hoped for, is more than a little gratifying:

Cable companies, you’ve been put on notice.

Cord cutting — ditching your steep monthly cable or satellite bill and instead watching video online — is on the rise, according to a new report from Experian Marketing Services.

In fact, some young adults may never even pay for cable TV in their lifetimes.

The percentage of cord-cutters, which Experian considers people with high-speed Internet who’ve either never subscribed to or stopped subscribing to cable or satellite, has risen by 44 percent in just three years.

In 2013, 6.5 percent of households in the U.S. had cut the cord, Experian found, up from 4.5 percent in 2010.

Read the full piece. The demographics working against bundled cable are delicious.

The hold that the evil and corrupt bundled cable industry has on our culture, politics, and news media is a cancer on society and the very concept of human liberty.

Burn, baby, burn.


Addicted to ‘Columbo’

During the ’70’s, I remember watching “Columbo” as a kid on “The Sunday Mystery Movie,” a series of television movies that rotated with different characters. No one my age will ever forget this:

Peter Falk’s “Columbo,” Rock Hudon’s “McMillan and Wife,” and Dennis Weaver’s “McCloud” were the biggies. There were others, but those were most prominent.

“Columbo” started as a television movie in 1968. Once it became part of the “Sunday Mystery Movie” franchise, a total of 45 movies were produced through 1978.  In 1989, the character was revived for another 24 movies through 2003.

Anyway, thanks to Netflix I’m through episode 25 and completely addicted. If my wife hadn’t put it on one night while I was reading, I never would have given a bunch of old Universal television movies from the ’70’s a shot, but I was shocked at how well-crafted the mystery was. So I tried another, and then another… and they have all been terrific.

The plots are meticulously constructed. The whole premise is that we know who committed the murder and how. The movies almost always open with a well-known star like Johnny Cash, Robert Culp, or Vera Miles trying to commit the perfect murder. And as you watch, it does seem pretty perfect.

Then in comes schlubby, misty-headed homicide detective Columbo, a LAPD lieutenant. And for the next hour, as the murdering hare underestimates and patronizes the raincoated turtle, Columbo eventually exasperates his prey by ingeniously putting the pieces together.

Two things surprised me: The first is that with only a few exceptions, the way in which Columbo nabs his man is not at all contrived. The murders and Columbo’s investigations of them tick like a Swiss watch. I also love the Columbo character when I expected to grow tired of his schtick. But Falk, a very warm and likable screen presence, creates a compelling character under all the “Oh, just one more thing” theatrics.

As far as what matters, the series isn’t anything close to dated. Highly recommended.

Happy Easter, everyone.


Quick hits:

Hollywood Begs for a Tax Break in Some States, Including California

Please, enough with the state film subsidies

Top 5 Movies to Watch Over Easter Weekend

Our 10 Favorite Killer A.I.’s in Movies

Clint Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’ Has a Trailer


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Follow  John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC