Forbes magazine has asked three critics (Richard Roper, Neil Rosen, Jeffrey Lyons) which are the ten best films ever made about money. What a question! Aren’t 70% to 80% of all the films ever made in one way or another about people trying to make, steal, hold onto or somehow get hold of more money? They didn’t choose Rififi or Heat or Eric von Stroheim‘s Greed or L’eclisse…this is lame. The ten they chose suggest their real criteria was choosing the best movies about greed, avarice and scam artists, are Wall Street, Trading Places (what?), The Sting, Boiler Room, Ocean’s Eleven (’60 version), It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Casino, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (good choice) and American Pscyho (another good one).
Here’s a mildly amusing N.Y. Times piece on the “daunting” challenges being faced by Jon Stewart and his team of writers over Stewart’s hosting of the Oscar telecast 13 days from now. Screw daunting. The only way to look at Oscar hosting is to assume you won’t be asked to return. Just do the job according to your best instincts…as long as they’re not like Chris Rock‘s. Ben Karlin, Stewart’s head writer, tells Jacques Steinberg that “when you step outside the process and think about it, you realize that the thing you’re working on is going to be seen by more people than anything you’ve ever done. That’s a great motivator. I would put that second to fear.” Asked if any particular celebrity should fear Stewart’s satirical wrath, Karlin declares that “Meryl Streep has gotten a free ride for too long…she’s going down.” He also says “we’re hoping to disappoint fans of The Daily Show and similarly disappoint new fans who had no idea who Jon was.”
David Carr‘s piece about the trepidations and nail-bitings over possible indictments stemming from the Anthony Pellicano wire-tapping mess (“A B-Movie Becomes a Blockbuster”) is another reason why Carr should continue doing his Carpetbagger column 24/7 after the Oscar race concludes. It’s always a tasty read, it’s got attitude, and is well-reported and well-written. The wire-tapping case against Pellicano “could ultimately threaten the reputation and even the freedom of some of the entertainment industry’s most prominent figures,” he notes, and “also serves as a reminder that even though the studios are now just one more adjunct of large media companies, Hollywood has always been a wide-open town that lives by its own rules. Many recognizable names have been questioned, among them Bert Fields, whose client list includes some of the city’s better-known names, including Michael S. Ovitz, the once-powerful talent agent, and Brad Grey, now the chairman of Paramount. People who were in litigation against both men were subjected to background checks and wiretapping, according to the indictment, but neither has been implicated in any criminal activity.” Yet. As Carr adds, “With the indictment of Terry N. Christensen, a respected member of the Los Angeles bar [hit] with wiretapping and conspiracy charges in connection with the divorce case of Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor, no one knows which way the marble will roll next.” And “given that federal investigators are in receipt of an uncertain number of recorded conversations, all those being questioned have to answer knowing that they may face federal perjury charges if they are less than forthcoming.”