It is HE’s contention that the two most depressing paragraphs ever written for a trade piece about the general state of the movie industry…said paragraphs can be found, trust me, in “Why It’s Never Been Easier to Land in Director’s Jail,” a 4.24 Hollywood Reporter article by Mia Galuppo. It’s basically about certain harsh, sudden-death judgments currently prevailing in the big studio realm.

Here’s the one-two punch…paragraphs #8 and #9…strap yourselves in:

“[Nowadays] new talent must deliver multiple successful projects in a row, sans slip-ups, before being afforded the grace (albeit only so much) to fail at the studio level. Says a top manager with a stable of studio directors of the gauntlet for filmmakers, ‘You basically get one shot [at proving yourself], three times in a row.'”

“For their part, executives offer that there is a dwindling number of working directors, even those with a bomb or two, [who] can be trusted with bigger budgets to deliver on time, on budget and on brand. Stuntperson-turned-director David Leitch is at the top of studio wish lists as someone who is able to direct entertaining films while having a great relationship with talent.”

David Leitch directs entertaining films? Since when? If you’re a brainless dork perhaps, but if you’re saddled with that terrible, bordering-on-lethal virus called ‘taste’. Leitch’s movies are a nightmare. And yet he couldn’t be doing better.

That’s really it, man….good God…game over. An entertainment or diversion industry that worships a soulless, mechanized, empty-coke-bottle hack like Leitch has become so submerged in shallow cynicism that there’s really no recovery scenario…the old idea of movies being an occasional delivery system for spiritual oxygen…if there’s one thing that David Leitch-ism stands for, it’s a conviction that movies are best de-oxygenated…that studios need to commit to eliminating those emotional potions that Joe and Jane Popcorn used to treasure and pay for back in the day.

From HE’s 8.2.22 review of Leitch’s Bullet Train:

Bullet Train is looking to excite those tens of millions of action fans who despise the idea of realistic action (you know, the kind with roots in that tedious realm that exists right outside the theatre doors or when you take off your headphones and turn off your Playstation games), and if it winds up making money, great.

“Because that’s who and what Leitch is — a man of impudence and conviction and hunger who’s out to make money. And Sony loves him for that. And Brad Pitt, who was allegedly paid $30 million to star in this thing, is almost certainly swooning with affection

“I’m not saying Bullet Train is a bad, empty, cynical, unfunny, idiotic, overwrought, soul-polluting film (although it is). I’m saying I’m not in this. Bullet Train wasn’t made for people like me. It was made in order to sell tickets to people with a jaded (corrupted?) sense of taste in this stuff, but the secondary motive (and Leitch will be the last one to deny this) is to make people like me feel poisoned and bored and drained while watching it.

“That’s how I felt last night, all right. But it doesn’t matter because action movie fans with standards don’t matter. The entire corporate movie-making, escapist-driven culture of 2022 is brushing away the lint of my opinions as we speak. Go away, you grumpy-ass fuck.

“Pay no attention to sourpusses like myself. I am like a crust of bread left over from a half-eaten chicken salad sandwich that’s sitting on a crumb-filled plate in a truck-stop diner somewhere in Indiana. Nobody cares about that crust, but they do care about the cinematic visions of David Leitch!”

Observation #2: What’s up with illustration for this article? My first reaction was that a director’s chair being consumed by flames seems like an admission by Galuppo and THR editors that many if not most directors today are writhing in a kind of hell. My second reaction was that it represents that age-old saying “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Observation #3: Galuppo doesn’t name any directors who may be residing in director’s jail, but I’m truly sick over the idea of David Leitch ruling the roost while certain directors who really have or certainly had something going on…directors like Cary Fukunaga, John McTiernan, Terry Gilliam, Shane Carruth, Tony Kaye, Alex Proyas, Brad Bird, Tom Hooper, Martin Brest, Tomas Alfredson and Terry Zwigoff (to name a few listed this morning by Jordan Ruimy)…the idea of directors of this calibre cooling their heels in movie jail is, at the very least, moderately revolting.

Observation #4: On 7.11.14 I posted the following about director-screenwriter-comedian Mike Binder

Variety‘s Steven Gaydos responded as follows:

“Coincidentally, while researching a piece on comedy directors I recently discovered that Binder’s real sin is not the Sandler gig, but to not have had that Wedding Crashers breakout hit that everyone’s studio exec jobs are depending on. But making lean and mean, smart, touching, human-centered films doesn’t get you that spot at the head table like it should. As Johnny Cash said, ‘I don’t like it but I guess things happen that way.'”