“I was at a Best Buy the other day trying to pick up a double disc of Citizen Kane on sale for $10, but I couldn’t find it. So I asked the girl in the department for help and she said she’d never heard of Citizen Kane or Orson Welles. I almost asked her if she was retarded. Instead I wept openly and asked her to just point me to the latest Kate Hudson crapfest. Full Disclosure: I am 39, and she said she was 24.” — posted at 5:09 pm by HE reader Buck Swope.
The enthusiasm that MGM is showing for Robert Weide‘s How To Lose Friends and Alienate People (Friday, 10.3) is clearly not what it could be. A friend says he hasn’t seen any TV ads, but the main indicator for me is that 42 West, the agency hired to screen HTLFAIP for MGM, has barely screened it. On top of which I never received an invite for last Monday afternoon’s screening at 4 pm. And when I wrote asking why earlier today, it took them six or seven hours to reply.
There was one other L.A. screening two or three weeks ago, but this seems to be the way of the world these days. You need to chase publicists for invitations to screenings. You have to hound them, corner them and sweet-talk them into inviting you. Not each and every time but more and more often. Unmistakably. And it’s not just me.
The reason 42 West hasn’t shown How To Lose Friends, of course, is that it appears to be a problem movie, as in, like, way too coarse and aimed at the apes.
In Weide’s defense, I’m told by a guy who knows him that he was pressured all through filming to dumb it down, and that he had to fight this pressure day after day, tooth and nail. If Todd McCarthy‘s 9.30 Variety review is an accurate indication of how the film plays, it seems that Weide lost the battle.
“‘How to lose friends and alienate audiences’ is the lesson taught by this cleverly titled but noxious British comedy about a Limey scribe trying to carve a notch for himself in the glam world of high-end New York publishing,” McCarthy begins. “Despite being based on the popular 2001 memoir of former Vanity Fair contributing editor Toby Young, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, features a protag so uncouth and inept it’s impossible to believe he’d hold his job for more than a week.
“Producers may have been inspired by The Devil Wears Prada to think a male variation could cause B.O. lightning to strike twice, but it’s not going to happen, even if Simon Pegg‘s presence rouses a certain interest, especially in the U.K.
“The diminutive, blond-tressed Pegg, who cut a comic bigscreen swath in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, is nothing short of malodorous as Sidney Young, a desperately striving, celebrity-chasing London journo whose embarrassing disruption of a BAFTA Awards party unaccountably earns him a job offer from Gotham-based Sharps magazine honcho Clayton Harding (a very long-haired Jeff Bridges).
“Turning up for work in a vulgar T-shirt, arrogantly considering his initial assignments beneath him and freely admitting he regards Con Air the greatest film of all time, Simon rubs everyone the wrong way; he manages to annoy Pat Kingsley-like PR maven Eleanor Johnson (Gillian Anderson), repulse rising editor Lawrence Maddox (Danny Huston) and accidentally kill the beloved Chihuahua of this year’s hot young thing, Sophie Maes (Megan Fox).
“Perhaps scenarist Peter Straughan was entitled to some license to exaggerate, but he goes too far when, in a sudden spasm of sincerity, he audaciously tries to encourage a rooting interest in a romance between the terminally boorish Sidney and his lovely office supervisor Alison (Kirsten Dunst), despite her entirely justified initial distaste for him. The further this story strain is pursued, the more of a turn-off the whole enterprise becomes.”
Leonardo DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker, Benicio del Toro, Sarah Silverman, Dustin Hoffman, Ellen DeGeneres, Jonah Hill, Jamie Foxx, etc., have made a plea to the self-absorbed sociopaths out there who haven’t yet registered to vote. That would mainly be, of course, the under-25 hoo-hoos, also known as the Generation of Shame. I love how Leo, Benicio and friends are clearly talking down to this crowd. As if it’s clearly understood that these people are infants who can’t see one centimeter beyond their little personal dramas, attitudes, whims and appetites.
Toward the end the team asks each viewer to send the URL to five friends, which is why it’s called…uhmm, hold on…”Five Friends.”
As MSNBC’s First Read noted this morning, “One potential sign of worry for Obama in this NBC/WSJ/MySpace poll is that these new/lapsed voters aren’t as interested in the election as your average voter is. In the poll, 49% of them say they’re very interested, but that’s compared with 70% of all registered voters who said this in the most recent NBC/WSJ survey. ‘Obama still has a significant challenge to get [these new voters] to the polls,’ Newhouse observes.
“One note about the methodology in the poll: It was conducted partly online and partly by phone, the online portion was a poll of a panel survey. That said, the results are consistent with our normal crosstabs from our NBC/WSJ poll.”
“I mean, if I knew it would take me 15 years to get back in the saddle and work again because of the way I handled things, I really would have handled things differently. I just didn’t have the tools. I’m doing things differently this time around — understanding what it is to be a professional, be responsible and to be consistent. Those are things that weren’t in my vocabulary back then. Change for me didn’t come easy; I didn’t wanna change until I lost everything, until I realized that you better change, or, you know, blow your fucking brains out. Either you change and go on with life, or you’re just a piece of shit.” — Wrestler star Mickey Rourke speaking this morning in a Manhattan press conference, as passed along by Defamer‘s Stu Van Airsdale.
How Rhodes Scholar-ish is Kirsten Dunst? I’ve always suspected she’s not that intellectually agile but I’ve never cared enough to get into it. I’ve never seen any indications of same. But now I have, courtesy of MTV.com’s Josh Horowitz. Unless, you know, Dunst was putting him on. But I doubt it.
Horowitz recently interviewed Dunst and her How to Lose Friends and Influence People costar Simon Pegg, and decided at one point to digress into a minor two-question Star Trek quiz. Pegg, an ostensibly nerdy type, blew his answer and then Horowitz turned to Dunst, who explained before answering that “I like nerds I’m still a girl at the end of the day.”
Horowitz (switch to present tense) says he understands that so he’s going to toss her an easier one. So he asks “who’s the captain of the Enterprise is, as played by William Shatner?” And Dunst quickly answers “Spock” and then realizes that may not be right. Then she laughs to cover up her inability to remember the correct answer. And then Pegg leans over and says “Kirk, Kirk” and she says “Kirk!”
You can be a “girl” all you want, but not knowing Captain Kirk is like not knowing who Jesus Christ, Barack Obama, Superman or Abraham Lincoln are. It’s not a nerd term — it’s a term known to tne entirety of Western Civilization. The name “Captain Kirk” is a primal, fundamental concept that anyone with a semblance of an education can identify. I’ll bet $50 bucks that even that idiotic drunken Kentucky woman in that YouTube video that I posted two days ago knows who Captain Kirk is.
Jim Sheridan‘s Brothers, which I’ve been very much looking forward to, being a fan of Jim’s work and Susanne Bier‘s original 2004 film, is being bumped into ’09 — possibly a late summer release, or possibly one in the fall. MGM had planned it to open it on 12.4.08, but now they’ll be taking it to next May’s Cannes Film Festival. Draw whatever conclusions you want, but the implication is that it’s not a quality issue as much as a concern that it might suffer against the heavy year-end competition.
Brothers director Jim Sheridan, costar Jake Gyllenhaal
This despite test-screening responses that seemed (emphasis on the “s” word) to indicate possible Oscar contention. Particular praise has gone to the performances of costars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman.
The MGM team wasn’t in the building from 9:15 to 10:45 am (even the receptionists didn’t answer) so I called Brothers producer Mike DeLuca, who confirmed the news. The decision to hold was basically due to the “crazy full fall for serious movies” this year, he says. “We love Brothers and want to blitz in Cannes, but it’s just too crowded this year for a wide fall release and an Oscar campaign.”
A key factor in the decision, he says, is that costar Jake Gyllenhaal is unavailable for year-end p.r. due to filming on Prince of Persia and “we can’t promote this movie without jake. So Cannes makes most sense. I’m super proud of the movie and a major unveiling on the Cote d’Azur with all cast present is too good to pass up.”
Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman and mystery man on Brothers set.
An MGM source said that a mid to late summer release could conceivably happen due to next summer looking relatively weak,
As noted three or four times before on HE, Brothers is a remake of Susanne Bier’s 2004 Danish-language original about a younger “bad” brother (Gyllenhaal in Sheridan’s version) stepping into the familial shoes of his older “good” brother (Maguire) after the latter disappears during an enemy skirmish in Afghanistan.
Natalie Portman plays the wife-mother whose loyalties shift, or at least adapt to new realities. Sam Shepard plays the gruff and disapproving pater familias, the father of Gyllenhaal and Maguire. David Benioff (The Kite Runner, The 25th Hour) adapted the screenplay.
In a relatively recent interview with DGA magazine’s F.X. Feeney, Sheridan (or was it Feeney?) alluded to Brothers as a kind of Cain and Abel story.
Sheridan “had been very moved by that film when he first saw it, intrigued by the themes of intense love and lethal jealousy between two polar opposite brothers — one a career military man, the other a lifelong screw-up who only comes into his own by caring for his brother’s family after his super-achieving sibling goes missing in Afghanistan and is declared dead.
“Sheridan realized transposing a Danish drama for an American audience could be risky. ‘You can’t just microwave something,’ he says emphatically. ‘You can’t just reheat it.’
“The challenge is to find what works best in the story about Americans, for Americans. ‘There are rules that apply to American cinema that don’t apply to other forms of cinema,’ he explains. ‘In a Danish film, people can get drunk with impunity. They can leave their kids at home unattended while they go pick up their brother in the bar. In an American movie, you’re not allowed. Americans are different and the rules are different. So all the time I’m consciously working within a framework of American storytelling.'”
New Quinnipiac University surveys taken last weekend and concluded on Monday show Barack Obama leading John McCain in Florida 51 percent to 43 percent, in Ohio 50 percent to 42 percent and in Pennsylvania 54 percent to 39 percent. These three states are the game. if these figures hold, Obama is as good as in.
QU polls conducted before and after the debate show post-debate gains in all three states. In Florida, Obama was up 49 to 43 pre-debate and 51 to 43 post-debate. In Ohio, Obama was up 49 to 42 pre-debate and 50 to 42 percent post-debate. In Pennsylvania Obama was ahead 49 to 43 percent pre-debate and 54 to 39 percent post-debate.
Pre-debate surveys ended at 8 p.m. Friday with post-debate surveys worked on from Saturday to Monday.
“We’re all connected. As others have pointed out, you can’t save Main Street and punish Wall Street anymore than you can be in a rowboat with someone you hate and think that the leak in the bottom of the boat at his end is not going to sink you, too. The world really is flat. We’re all connected. Decoupling is pure fantasy.” — — From a 9.30 column by N.Y. Times guy Thomas L. Freidman.
Friedman also said, “I totally understand the resentment against Wall Street titans bringing home $60 million bonuses. But when the credit system is imperiled, as it is now, you have to focus on saving the system, even if it means bailing out people who don’t deserve it. Otherwise, you’re saying: I’m going to hold my breath until that Wall Street fat cat turns blue. But he’s not going to turn blue; you are, or we all are. We have to get this right.”
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »