“Tuba-sized customers? The Jabba-sizing of America? Funny, Jeff.
I’m one of those people. Not morbidly obese, but a big guy. I’ve been this size for over ten years. I spend a lot of money going to the movies, and have loved doing so since I was about ten years old. I have never complained of the size of seats, but I have had to squeeze into some seats that seemed especially small. If new seats are being made for those of us who need it, what the fuck difference does it make to you? Do you really think you don’t have readers and fans who aren’t overweight? Please tell me you’re not this insensitive a fucking prick. I’d be the first to whoop somebody’s motherfucking ass if they said this kind of shit to my face.” — Roderick Durham
Brian Cook‘s Colour Me Kubrick, a perverse comedy about Alan Conway (John Malkovich), a real-life fraud who successfully passed himself off as the reclusive Stanley Kubrick in various London haunts in the early to mid ’90s, is finally showing its face at the Tribeca Film Festival (4.25 thru 5.7). I’ve been trying to get a look at this film since late ’04, at least. I’m under the impression it was filmed sometime in the 21st Century but I can’t absolutely confirm this. Cook was Kubrick’s first assistant director on The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut, and the pic’s screenwriter Anthony Frewin worked as a personal assistant to Kubrick. A non-linked account on a site called Film Rot provides the following from a guy who says he acted in it: “Conway was like a conman. He lived on a diet of pills and alcohol and his accounts were all flat. He was always manipulating the system. He’d go up to one person or another — he’d meet people in bars, etc. — and he’d say, ‘You know, I think you’re wonderful. I’d like for you to be in my movie. I’ll pay you millions of pounds.’ And people would fall for this and he’d take privileges off of them and spend their money. He conned one person after the next after the next. And John Malkovich plays this character. I play one of the victims. So I got to do all of my scenes were with Malkovich.” Here’s the French Europa Corp. site with various-sized trailers.
Two-plus weeks after the Oscars, blogger Chris Molanphy defends the winner for Best Original Song “because friends and acquaintances of mine are still complaining about it.” Most of us loved Hustle & Flow from whence ‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp’ came, but there hasn’t been a serious morning-after piece about why — on the merits — the song deserved to win, so here’s one.
On top of my riveting encounter last Sunday with Asger Leth’s Ghosts of Cite Soleil, a doc about a sympathetic Haitian thug who fancies himself as a hip-hopper in the midst of political chaos, there are suddenly two other docs on the radar screen about bottom-rung hip-hoppers struggling in a tough environment. East of Havana, which was produced (i.e., paid for) by Charlize Theron and shown just recently at South by Southwest Film Festival, is a portrait of Cuban rappers that’s allegedy pretty damn good. It’ll be discussed by HE‘s SxSW correspondent Moises Chiullan in a column piece running tomorrow. The other is Australian director George Gittoes‘ Rampage, “an exploration of hip-hop’s musical innovations in a Miami ‘hood” that recently played at the Berlin Film Festival and then at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. I’ve just received a DVD of it and I’ll be having a look this evening and then a discussion with Gittoe about it sometime this weekend.
The apparent yanking of Wednesday’s re-run of South Park‘s “Trapped in the Closet” episode (i.e., the one that vivisected Tom Cruise and Scientology as a whole) isn’t the first time Viacom and Comedy Central have censored an episode from Matt Stone and Trey Parker‘s animated show. According to this 12.29.05 Sarah Hall E! News story, Viacom pulled a 12.28 rerun of an episode called “Bloody Mary” that offended the Catholic League. In an email to fans following this occurence, Comedy Central said the episode was not included in the South Park marathon “in deference to the [Xmas] holidays…we have not permantly shelved the ‘Bloody Mary’ episode from future airings due to outside pressure…nor will we exclude it from future DVD releases.”
MCN columnist Gary Dretzka‘s report about bigger theatre seats and implied American obesity levels doesn’t just raise intriguing questions — it could serve as the starting point for a comedy skit. Dretzka wrote from Showest that “representatives of seat manufacturers confirmed [during the festival] that the width of the average chair has expanded from around 18-20 inches, to 22-24 inches. Since volume is important to exhibitors, it’s logical to think that this adjustment was made necessary for reasons other than pampering their customers’ rear ends.” But how did this obviously major business decision (think of the revenue downscalings due to fewer seats per theatre) come to pass? Presumably theatre owners were getting complaints from their tuba-sized customers about the seats being too small, but how many (are there statistics?) and for how long a time? At precisely what point did the Jabba-sizing of America reach red-alert proportions as far as theatre seats were concerned, leaving exhibitors backed against the wall with no choice but to invest and accomodate?
Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey “has been compromised in the industry’s eyes” by last Monday’s N.Y. Times story about his past ties to indicted wiretapper Anthony Pellicano, writes “Deadline Hollywood” columnist Nikke Finke in her L.A. Weekly blog, but where’s the beef? “Yes, the FBI has interviewed Grey…yes, he’s testified before the grand jury investigating Pellicano. But is there or is there not a Pellicano tape [with Grey on it]? Did he or did he not sign something before he could get the Paramount job saying he had no knowledge of Pellicano’s wiretapping? The Times story doesn’t begin to answer these questions. Either Brad is squeaky clean or…he’s up to his eyeballs in it, or the truth lies somewhere in between.” With the help of Grey’s former partner Bernie Brillstein and possibly other sources, however, Finke passes along three tasty hors d’oeuvres: (1) “When Grey was still the head of Brillstein-Grey, his successful talent management and production company, he and the William Morris Agency pitched HBO about doing an original series with the working title Hollywood Dick based on Pellicano’s life and work… with Pellicano included in the pitch as a consultant”; (2) Brillstein confirming to Finke that “the location of the old Brillstein Co., the forerunner to Grey’s firm (and where Grey was mentored from 1986 until 1991, when he became a 50-50 name partner) was just two doors down the hallway from Pellicano’s office in the same 9200 Sunset Boulevard building”; and (3) Brillstein “said he was shut down when he tried to contact one of the Times reporters, Allison Hope Weiner. ‘When I called her and said, ‘Is there anything I can do to help you?’ she said, ‘No.’ I could have given her some facts she didn’t have.'”
“At midnight, I turn into a wolf.” — “Lawrence Talbot,” played by Lon Chaney, Jr.. “Yeah, you and 20 million other guys.” — “Wilbur Frey,” played by Lou Costello. From Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo and John Grant’s script of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), which was also about the boys running into Dracula and the Wolf Man.
I’ve made no calls and done no digging on this…zip…but “Hollywood Interrupted” investigative reporter Mark Ebner has written on his blog that “sources from inside Paramount and South Park Studios report that parent company Viacom pulled Wednesday night’s scheduled repeat of the previously-aired South Park episode called ‘Trapped in the Closet’.” (The show goes on at 10 pm Pacific, 9 pm Central.) The reason, Ebner reports, is that Tom Cruise, who is mocked pretty heavily in the episode (along with the Church of Scientology), threatened to cancel all publicity for Paramount’s Mission Impossible: 3 if Comedy Central aired it. This is apparently the first time that the South Park creators have been officially censored in their long history with Comedy Central. Ebner says Viacom officials have “reportedly ordered Douth Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker not to discuss the reason why their episode was cancelled.” (If this part of the story is true, how the hell are Matt and Trey going to keep mum about this? Is Viacom going to put them under forced sedation?) The South Park boys “are said to be angry,” writes Ebner, “but will probably get revenge with the manner in which they deal with Scientologist Isaac Hayes’ departure from the show”…whatever that means. All this alleged heavy-ass censorship, and yet the “Trapped in the Closet” episode is viewable on the Comedy Central website (or at least a portion of it is) as well as on Ebner’s “Hollywood Interrupted” blog.