Friday, 14 October 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #822: What's With All The Hating?

Recently I saw some Hollywood People hating on Internet People, and I'm just wondering "What the hell?"

First Charlie Kaufman's latest script, called Frank Or Francis, leaked out and word is that it's loaded with vitriol against Hollywood, calling it a "cancerous lie-spewing machine," the Academy Awards, movie audiences, who are apparently all too stupid to live, and some a nice big ladle full of acid is kept for movie bloggers, embodied by the titular Francis, an overweight movie blogger who, according to reports, is mystified why his pretentious rantings aren't getting him any women.

I'll get back to that but there is another recent public conniption fit I'd like to get to before that...

Kurt Sutter, creator and executive producer of FX's crime drama The Sons of Anarchy, went on an expletive loaded rant against TV bloggers.  You can read a recap, and a rebuttal, and a rebuttal to the rebuttal here.

Now the thing I don't get is why?

Okay, I know that he's a passionate fellow, especially when it comes his show.  A while back he actually quit Twitter for awhile after dropping more F-Bombs than Curtis LeMay when the Emmy Award nominations overlooked those near and dear to him.

I can understand that, and I can even sympathize.  The whole showbiz awards process has become a boondoggle that's more about the petty prejudices and internal political maneuvering of the award giving bodies than the quality of the material being glorified.

But what I don't get is the hating on the TV bloggers.

When I see TV blogs reporting on Sutter and his show, they tend to be pretty supportive, with many people being active fans of the show.  Now I know that this is the internet, and there are jerks and dinguses all over it who love to do nothing more than shit all over the hard work of others.  I even had a troll visit here to slag me in the comments.  Me, of all people, the Sweetheart Of The Internet.*

From my own experience skimming the blogosphere, they're in the minority when it comes to Sutter and his show.  In fact, I can't really remember anyone saying anything about either that deserved the nastiness Sutter unleashed.

However, that's not to say that someone didn't say something to set him off.  Like I said before, trolls abound in these dark online woods, and I get the feeling that someone, somewhere did or said something for the express purpose of setting off a classic Kurt Sutter Twitter Hulk-Out.

Now while I find these rages entertaining, I would suggest that Sutter hopefully steps back, tries decaf, and refrains from feeding the trolls.  It only makes them more aggressive.

Now, back to Charlie Kaufman and his case of Hollywood nerd rage.
He started out as a sketch comedy and joke writer on TV, but exploded into the realm of indie credibility with the indie-cult hit Being John Malkovich.  He followed that up with other critically acclaimed films like Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, and Adaptation, all did well with critics and audiences, and he even won an Academy Award for Adaptation, which he shared with the fictional twin brother he created in the movie.

Now he's looking to make a film where he slags on everyone for not appreciating just how damn smart he is.

Where can we find the source of all this rage? I think I might know where....

Schenectady, New York.

Oops, my bad, the correct spelling is Synecdoche, New York.  

Of course Synecdoche, New York, is not a place, it's a film. Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut about a theater director who uses a MacArthur Genius Grant to build a simulacrum of a section of New York City, and populate it with actors to recreate moments from his life.  The film cost $20 million, was picked up by Sony for distribution with no money up front, and only earned about $4 million in its limited release.

Now an art film about artistic/directorial masturbation making $4 million isn't bad.  But it didn't enjoy the cult success that Kaufman's other scripts had, you don't see people referring to it as an indie classic like Sunshine, Malkovich or Adaptation.  

Because of that I suspect that he feels screwed.  

He feels screwed by the distributor who didn't give a wide release or enough publicity, he feels screwed by the Academy for not giving it any awards, he feels screwed by the audience who didn't attend, and he feels screwed by the internet commentators, most of whom worship at the altar of Charlie Kaufman for not singing its praises from every digital rooftop.

One thing from the report that tells me that resentment fuels this project is the part that says that Francis, the overweight movie blogger, doesn't understand why his rantings don't have women macking all over him.

It's not enough to make him pretentious, judgmental, and obnoxious he has to be delusional as well.

Speaking as the representative of the overweight pretentious, judgmental and obnoxious film bloggers of the world, I know for a fact that writing about movies does not get you women, nor do I think anyone outside of Hollywood would ever believe that anyone with at least one foot in the realm of reality would think that.

Personally, I would advise Mr. Kaufman to step back from the keyboard, and let this puppy sit in a drawer, quietly gathering dust. I can understand why he wrote it.  All scribblers, scriveners, and scribes have times when they felt that way.  So writing it all out can make a writer feel better about their lot in life.

Putting it on screen however, is another story entirely.

Now it's okay for him to shit on Hollywood, and critical bloggers, that gives him "indie street cred" as their kind of rebel.  What worries me are the script's reported attacks on the audience as stupid and cattle-like herding to stupid movies because they're stupid people.

Mr. Kaufman, you are standing on the Bay Line, and you are in serious danger of stepping over it.

If you're not a regular reader of this blog The Bay Line is the reason why the dumb films of Michael Bay succeed, and why so many so-called "smart films" fail.

It's the line that lies between insulting the audience's intelligence and insulting the audience's existence.

Michael Bay's movies insult your intelligence, but they're not going to insult you for being born in a certain place, living a certain way, practicing a certain religion, or voting for a certain political party.

The problem with too many films that Hollywood considers "smart" is that they try to earn those "smart" bona-fides by shitting on where large segments of the audience were born, how they live, how they pray, and how they vote.

Half the audience ends up insulted, the other half ends up bored, and both end up going to see some robots blow shit up.  Why?  Because while it may be dumber than a sack of hammers, it's not going to scold them for being born.

So take my advice Mr. Kaufman.  Sure the film might get made, and it might even win some awards, you do tend to be on the short list for that sort of thing, but if you pull the trigger and go through with it, the audience will get then subconsciously associate you with pissing on them and telling them that it's raining, and they'll ignore you into oblivion.

Of course all this is not the really shocking part.  The really shocking part is that people in Hollywood are actually reading what the blogs say about movies.

I find that simply unbelievable.

*There's no such title of "Sweetheart Of The Internet," and if there was, the author of this blog would not qualify for it on any level.  
-- Furious D Show Legal Dept.


  1. "The really shocking part is that people in Hollywood are actually reading what the blogs say about movies.

    I find that simply unbelievable."

    Indeed. If they did read movie blogs they might have noticed that women blog too. And no, we don't blog about movies because we think it'll make us look thin.

  2. Wait, did you say that women write movie blogs?

    Learn something new every day. ;)

  3. I thought Felicia Day was the sweetheart of the internet.

    Anyway, I have trouble believing your theory of Kaufman... which is what makes it all the more believable. (such is hollywood, eh? the dumbest, most retarded possibility is probably the correct answer)

    I just can't imagine being so up my own ass that I get enraged about 1 out of 4 artistic efforts "failed". I've got 6 entries on my own "works" page and if 5 of those got even half of Kaufman's acclaim, I'd be too giddy to even worry about the sixth.

    Did that guy not have to work to get noticed? How can you be that spoiled?

  4. To me, D, you are the embodiment of the Sweetheart Of The Internet, and always shall be.

    Speaking as a man whose self-esteem and economic life are largely tied up in my creative works, it is my opinion that you are not a real man, nor can you be a real artist, unless you have had failures as well as successes.

    Thus, I have credits for working on the successful and profitable licenses of Age of Empires, Doom, Quake, Civilization, and Call of Cthulhu. But I also have credits for the flops of Dr. Floyd's Wacky Windows, the Elfquest RPG, and Sid Meier's Covert Action. Frankly I probably learned more from the flops than the successes. Note that the flops were generally early in my career, and the successes later on - not that I'll never flop again (knock on wood), but presumably I learned from mistakes.

    When someone at a convention or a panel discussion brings up an old wound such as the deathmarch that was Darklands, I just laugh about it. Can't Kaufman do this? Is he SO monstrously ego-bound, so insecure, that he can't admit to EVER making a mistake?

  5. The more I think about it, the more I realize that Kaufman's script is the equivalent of the angry e-mail you send to your girlfriend in response to her "Dear John" e-mail. Lots of pissy and childish anger.

    Anyway, the fact that it's even considered to be made show's Kaufman's lofty position in the industry, and how he really should feel privileged instead of pissed off.

  6. Wow. breaking up with another person in an e-mail. that's cold.