Five or six hours were eaten up today as I chased a single story about a movie possibly not going forward, or at least about the finances being stalled for the time being. I wrote emails to and left phone messages with several parties to try and learn what’s up, and then I spent almost two hours on the phone with a guy I’ve known for years who explained that the story was not true although certain aspects might be sort of half-true in this or that respect.
The result is that I didn’t post very much today, which mildly irritates. On one level it’s exciting and enriching to dig down into a story and get to know the whys and particulars, but I have to crank stuff out no matter what. You have to shovel coal into the furnace.
I can’t write six or seven riffs (i.e., items, reviews, rants) for this column and also do the old John Horn or Patrick Goldstein routine, chasing down an interesting, sometimes labrynthian story and talking to the right people and taking notes and assembling the final version of the story just so and tying up the loose ends. I have to think fast and write faster and get out the six-shooter and be completely unafraid to channel Judge Roy Bean. A perceptive, passionate, fair-minded Judge Bean, I mean.
I should have linked/excerpted a Mike Fleming Deadline piece that ran four days ago called “Let Me Rant More Than Rave About The Film Climate In Hollywood Now.” I didn’t because…I don’t have a decent excuse but the best part is mainly about how to jazz up the Oscarsl
Fleming’s big idea (and it’s a good one) is that the Academy should use the Oscar telecast as a way to entertainingly preview the big wanna-see flicks of the coming year.
“Instead of Cirque du Soleil, what if Oscar promised an exclusive clip of Tom Cruise singing an ’80s rock number in his decadent hair band rock icon character from Rock Of Ages? A clip showing the giant dragon Smaug or a battle scene from Middle Earth from The Hobbit? A killer scene from The Hunger Games? One from Prometheus, Ridley Scott‘s revisit to Alien terrain? The Dark Knight Rises? An action scene marking the return of James Bond in Skyfall? You get the idea.
“All of these scenes would be exclusive, and this could become a tradition which could be promoted and would give a global movie-loving audience more to embrace than dresses that actresses are wearing.
“Insiders say this hasn’t happened because the Academy is intransigent in its fear that the integrity of the awards would be compromised. After all, they only just started allowing movie ads during the telecast. Hey, Academy: join the 21st century.
“And while we’re at it, doubling the number of Best Picture nominees has mostly added a few more films most people didn’t see. Why not create some other awards that honor the best comedy or best ensemble, which might give the unwashed masses something to root for? And when you have a year where Harry Potter was again ignored for Best Picture after an eighth installment that marked the end of an unprecedented achievement of an engrossing serial that grossed $8 billion, why not INVENT AN AWARD that gives the cast and filmmakers the chance to take a final bow in front of a grateful global TV audience?
There’s “a palpable lack of excitement for the Oscars” among industry players, he says. The basic problem is that the Oscar telecasy “is clearly hamstrung not by the imagination of its producers [but] the Academy’s unwillingness to get off its high horse and start showing audiences around the world what they really want to see.”
Fleming is basically saying that Academy honchos Tom Sherak, Dawn Hudson and Ric Robertson are basically what’s wrong.
“Why can’t the Academy face the fact that its stuffiness and stubbornness has turned movie’s most important night into the Super Bowl for dress designers? The red carpet pre-show has become a more anticipated event than an awards show that focuses too much on a Hollywood past the masses don’t care about, technical awards the masses don’t care about, and movies from last year that audiences either saw or decided not to see a long time ago.”
Rome Reborn 2.2 is the most realistic — painterly, Ridley Scott-ish — digital recreation of ancient Rome I’ve ever come across. There’s also a Rome Reborn 2.1 version that isn’t bad. I’m not visiting Rome this year after Cannes (as I’ve done three times over the last 10 or 12 years) but a friend and his fiance are honeymooning in Rome later this month, and I’ve been passing along tips and advisories.
I was alerted to this when the Toronto Star‘s Chantale Allick posted a story about this earlier today.
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