“Not long ago, the Bagger was at an event with a major film writer and director and ended up in a booth with him for several hours. He admired the man tremendously, [but] did not like his last project. Finally, the subject came up and the Bagger told the truth, after which there was suddenly very little to say. Later, he asked a colleague with more experience if he had been wise to speak his mind. ‘No, that was profoundly stupid,’ he was told. ‘They really don’t want to know the truth.'” — from David Carr‘s latest Oscar-related posting, “Ten Things I Don’t Hate About You, or At Least Your Movie.”
Carr’s friend was right, but I’ll never forget the shame I felt eight years ago when I lied by saying something encouraging and enthusiastic about Armageddon to its producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, at an early-bird industry screening. That Michael Bay film felt way too forced and agitated. As Variety‘s Todd McCarthy famously said at the time, the pace felt to me like that of “a machine gun locked in the firing position.” A guy in the know told me a week or so later that Armageddon was “frame-fucked…the length of every last shot was cut down to the absolute bare minimum to keep it moving as fast as possible.”
Anyway, I saw Bruckheimer in the lobby right after the show and told him, coward that I was, that Armageddon “seriously rocks.” Jerry knew right away I was full of it; he gave me a look that said, “Huh, that”s funny…you’re lying to me and you’re doing a bad job of it.” He didn’t look at me for the rest of the evening. Nice feeling, that.