“I learned that if you don’t want fleas, you don’t lie down with dogs….but there are only so many distributors out there.” The speaker is producer Aaron Ryder (The Amateurs ), the subject is producer Philippe Martinez, head of the troubled distribution company Bauer Martinez; and the forum is an L.A. Times piece by reporter John Horn.

Some of the same Martinez material was covered in a 10.26.06 Sharon Waxman piece in the N.Y. Times, particularly the fallout from his allegedly not living up to promises he’d made about promoting Harsh Times. Horn also discusses The Flock, a Bauer Martinez movie starring Richard Gere, and another one called I Could Never Be Your Woman starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

Horn also reports that Bauer Martinez has pacted with Die Hard‘s John McTiernan “to direct the $50-million Hayden Christensen action movie Crash Bandits ” and that it “said it would spend $850,000 for the adult film comedy The Amateurs, starring Jeff Bridges.”

Last October, in response to the Waxman piece, I wrote the following about the Martinez syndrome: “Time and again Hollywood types — directors, producers, studios — get into business with oily foreign guys (European or Israeli) who tend to live high and swagger around and smoke cigars. The Hollywooders are always interested because there are always fresh oilies looking to buy their way into the business, and they’ll hook up with almost anyone with a connected rep in order to do so. Elie Samaha, Giancarlo Peretti, Jean-Marie Messier, Bob Yari, Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus, Avi Lerner, etc.

“Yari has been doing pretty well for himself lately (The Illusionist is a hit), but sooner or later the matters of oily men always seem to turn sour or go south. Hollywooders who make movies with them always seem to regret it, sooner or later. ”

And yet I’ve seen The Amateurs, which the IMDB says has been retitled The Moguls, and can sympathize with Martinez not wanting to go the distance for it, despite what Ryder may say. A friend of the film could call it quirky or mildly amusing, but it’s just not very good.