Friday, May 07, 2004


[The run-down formally known as SPICY BITS.]

...The Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild and the Recording Industry of America have all joined together to express their shock and outrage that the FCC has fined Bono for using the expression "f*cking brilliant" during the live Golden Globes telecast last year. The industry organisms are all very clear that when Bono said it, the F word was NOT indecent. They haven't decided what it was. But we can all be relieved to know what it wasn't.

...Mike Leigh's "abortion film" (those are Daily Variety's words, not mine) Vera Drake has been picked up by New Line's shingle, Fine Line, for a fall release. The film is about a kindly woman in the 1950's who helps women, you know, kill their kids in utero. Mychial Lynne of New Line is staking his word of honor that this film isn't an insulting, pro-choice propaganda piece noting, "It's a very emotional and sympathetic film which deals with the controversial issue of abortion, (but) raises the debate to the level of asking how you deal with guilt and innocence in a society." I suppose any attempt to "raise the level of debate" on the pro-choice side past "KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY BODY!!!" is welcome. But why don't I feel happy?

...There's an indie film in very limited release this weekend that represents my first screen credit. (Well, except for that Sorority System at Northwestern blockbuster I produced.) A Foreign Affair is a sweet romantic comedy that stars David Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson, Emily Mortimer and Megan Follows (Anne of Green Gables in a former screen life). I worked as script doctor on the piece, and they kindly put my name in the credits. The two fellows behind the script also have the distinction of being two Christian producers who actually took every piece of advice I gave them - and look what happened?! They got some stars attached. They got into Sundance. They got into some other festivals. They got theatrical distribution! "For those to have ears to hear..."

...ANNOYING QUOTE OF THE MONTH: (We're talking about the new ClearPlay DVD machine that blocks smut.) "What the new sex-blocking, language-skirting, violence-busting DVD player does is homogenize everything into a single chaste and wholesome standard. And when that happens, the big loser is creative expression." (Ray Richmond, writing in Hollywood Reporter) Okay I want a show of hands from all the non-baby boomers out there. Does this move any of you to tears? Kids on this hand, creative expression over here....nope, time to let it go guys.

...Lots of Hollywood people are nervously watching the release of Van Helsing this weekend. With a cost of around $200 million, Van Helsing represents "the new threshold" (Daily Variety, 4/19/2004) for major studio releases. Spider-Man 2, Troy and Polar Express are other projects also nudging up against that - almost immoral - budget number. A lot of people in town are secretely hoping the film will fail and then diffuse the upward momentum in making movies that literally represent a studio betting the whole farm on one project. In this sense, these movies aren't tentpoles, they ARE the whole tent. The success of these projects will make it that much harder to get movies made that do not justify themselves in terms of sequels, TV spin-offs, merchandisizing, DVD tie-ins and, what Variety labels, "other synergistic opportunities."

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