Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #302: Rosenberg, Weinstein, Zucker, & Silverman

No, that's not the name of my law firm, my lawyers are Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe for civil work, and Sofa, King, Hugg, Lee & Layme handle my numerous criminal charges. (I blame Canada's up-tight laws against building Doomsday Weapons and creating armies of genetically modified cyborg ninja chimps.)

Nope I'm talking about SAG president Alan Rosenberg, Harvey Weinstein, and Jeff Zucker. First up...


The Screen Actor's Guild voted to accept the AMPTA's last contract offer, after months of arguing, division, more division, and even duelling You-Tube videos.

Now it's president, character actor Alan Rosenberg, wants to run for a 3rd term.

My advice to Mr. Rosenberg: Don't.


Because at heart, Rosenberg is an idealist, and while ideals are lovely things, right now, SAG doesn't need an idealist.

It needs a bastard.

A bastard that can't be bribed, bullied, or bullshitted, and who can do at least two terms of two years each, and be able to the things that need to be done, by any means necessary.

Here's what needs to be done:

First Term:

1. End the divisions within SAG, and with the other unions, like AFTRA. Too many factions, too much undermining, it all has to be stopped, by hook or by crook. Do what the politicians call "opposition research" dig under rocks, do what needs to be done.

2. Build a war chest big enough to strike long enough to affect the bottom lines of the studios, and more importantly, executive bonuses. Shame the A-List, have bakes sales, I don't care how you get the money, just get the damn money, it is the ammunition needed to win.

3. Find allies. Show investors and financial backers that you are not the problem, but part of the solution. Labour and Capital need not be enemies in true capitalism, in fact, they can be strong allies when face with management that run businesses like medieval fiefdoms.

Second Term:

1. Prepare to negotiate hard for a new contract in a truly united front with the other unions, and the money people. No more undermining each other for personal advantage, that's what the AMPTP wants.

2. If the studios play hardball, have the resources to play hardball right back.

And I don't think that an idealist can do that.


Rumours are abounding about how The Weinstein Company is hording cash to cover the costs of releasing Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, and Halloween 2, in the vain hope that the 2 films will save the failing company.

Well, it's a real gamble.

Reviews on
Basterds are mixed, at best, Tarantino has to trim 40 minutes of the film, and then there's the indulgence factor.

Sometimes Tarantino's self-indulgence, nurtured by chronic enabler Harvey, clicks with the audience.
Kill Bill 1&2 is the classic example of his fetishes for lowbrow pop culture, and Uma Thurman's feet catching on with the zeitgeist.

Grindhouse though is a $100 million example, of when it doesn't.

Plus, there's the added factor of World War 2 itself, and how that may affect the film's performance.

Tarantino's main inspiration were the dark, nihilistic, and morally ambiguous war-exploitation films that came out of continental Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. That's because to most Europeans, who were either conquered, collaborators, or crushed by WW2, the whole thing was dark, nihilistic, and morally ambiguous.

Americans view the war as the great heroic crusade against Nazi genocide, and Japanese militarist imperialism. The war and its memory are held sacred by a large segment of the population, a segment that Hollywood neither understands, nor cares to know, even though it buys the bulk of the tickets. While they may go for the Nazi killing, they may not go for a story of American soldiers engaging in terror tactics while their sons and daughters fight terrorists overseas. They may consider an insult to veterans, past and present.


Poor NBC. It can't buy a hit.

Conan O'Brien's rating are slipping to the point where he's being beaten by Letterman, and Letterman hasn't figured out the 2008 election ended months ago.

The network doesn't seem to be bothered, thinking Conan's younger demographics will save the day. But I'm not so sure about that.

You see, Conan's core audience, stoned college kids, are busy getting stoned during the Tonight Show's time slot. The Tonight Show is the time when the stoned college kids' parents climb into bed to laugh at the monologue before going to sleep with the TV on.

I think NBC management rushed O'Brien into this, without giving him the time to prepare his act for the Tonight Show's older audience, who preferred Leno's un-hip, but likable persona. But someone sold NBC's honchos some demographic snake-oil, they rushed to screw Leno as quickly as possible, and a boondoggle that could hurt a lot of people was born.

Which is a shame, when I was in college I watched Conan O'Brien a lot, and liked him, but I just don't think he can sell to the over 50s, who view him as silly, and failing here can seriously screw his career. I hope he saved his money, like Leno.

But I wasn't stoned.

I was up late studying for my World Domination finals.

1 comment:

  1. When I went to fye at the mall today, I couldn't help but notice a good amount of the DVDs in the bargain bin were from The Weinstein Company.

    If I were Harvey Weinstein, I'd do a better job. Otherwise, I'd put a gun in my mouth.