Thursday, 6 January 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #657: Another Case of Too Big To Deny

Welcome to the show folks....

Barbara Streisand has inked a deal to play the scene stealing role of "Mama Rose" in a new big budget movie adaptation of the musical
Gypsy with producer Joe Silver at Warner Bros.

I'm having one of my psychic visions about this film. I see a bomb, a really big bomb, sitting in the bottom of a discount DVD bin at a Wal-Mart.... gathering dust.

For those who don't know much about musicals, Gypsy is based on the early life of Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy Rose Lee was the first burlesque performer, or stripper, to become nationally famous. Her style emphasized the tease element of striptease, and incorporated elements of sly humor like performing an intellectual lecture or recitation while her clothes seemed to fall off. She parlayed that success and notoriety as a ecdysiast (a word she coined) into work as an actress, playwright, mystery author, and her autobiography was soon adapted into the musical play that's the center of this story.

Now the real meaty part in
Gypsy is of Lee's mother Rose Hovick, aka Mama Rose. Mama Rose is the archetypal stage mother, demanding, ambitious, swinging wildly between seductive charm and ruthless cruelty. It's the perfect role for someone who wants to show off that she can act, sing, and dance.

So let me get to why this film will fail, but why the studio is doing it.


1. Barbra Streisand isn't the box office big deal she was in the 1970s and 1980s. Even then she really wasn't that big when viewed in the context of the age of $100 million blockbusters. Yes, she's appeared in the two
Fockers movies that sold a lot of tickets, but she's not the "star" or the main attraction of the film. Then there's the other problem...

2. Barbra Streisand is expensive.
Little Fockers will probably lose a fortune because it cost $100 million to make, and at least half that to market. The main reason a family comedy cost so much is because everyone in the cast was being paid the moon and a half to appear in the film. How much do you think she and Joe Silver, a producer who isn't known for his parsimony are going to spend on this movie? They'll make the $55 million spent on Burlesque look like pocket change.

3. Barbra Streisand is old. I hate to be ageist, and the success of films like
Red, show that seniors can still kick but, but you have to remember that Mama Rose is supposed to be somewhere in her 30s-40s during the time covered in the story. Babs will be somewhere between 69-70 when shooting starts. That will make the back-story of her being a teenage bride and mother a bit too much of a stretch unless they cast a 50 year old actress in the title role of Gypsy.


Okay, with so many glaring reasons to red-light this movie you have to ask yourself "Why would these allegedly intelligent people green-light something guaranteed to tank?" Well here's why, they aren't as smart as they want you to think they are and have to go along with certain conventions that dictate their decisions.

1. It's a remake. Studios love remakes, and any excuse they can come up with for a remake is a good excuse.

2. Didn't someone do this recently? You see if someone did a movie on a similar subject and got a lot of attention for it, then you must do it as well. In
this case, it's Burlesque, it was a musical about burlesque dancers, and it got a truckload of hype before its release. It disappeared from the box-office in a weekend and lost half a ton of money, but they don't remember that, all they remember is the hype, so it had to have been big.

3. You never say no to Barbra. Hollywood is a very small town. Actually, like I always say, it's more like a small town high school with money. Babs is the equivalent of one of the "popular" girl. She's not "popular" because people like her all that much, she's "popular" because if you don't give her what she wants, she can make your life in this tiny little inbred high school very, very difficult. To executives it's better for the company to take a financial bath with other people's money than to risk getting uninvited from the hottest fashionable fundraiser and lose your shot at getting George Clooney to think you're one of the cool kids.

So here we go again, tens of millions of dollars flushed down the drain, because Hollywood is neither an art or a business, it's a playground for the already rich and famous and investor's money are the toys.

1 comment:

  1. This movie reeks of what will become self indulgent, ego driven piece of fecal matter. Hollywood being a playground for the a list elites is one of many reasons ticket sales are down, and people really have no remorse about "renting" their films from bitorrent.

    Babs diva attitude has been one of the biggest audience turn offs for a long time, long with her political views.

    As for political views, she has that right to believe want she wants, but she then tells us simple folk how we should live our life for the "common good" while she never does the same.

    Celebs like her cannot wither away into dust fast enough.

    I hope if Selena Gomez becomes a Hollywood icon, she does not mutate into some egotistical diva snob who think she knows what is best for all of use rubes. My only encouragement is when Babs and her ilk finally wither away into dust it will be the Selena Gomez' of this new young generation that will take their place.