Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1152: Random Nonsense


Reports say that Robert Downey jr. is taking a page from the "write what you know" school of thought and developing a TV series for Showtime set at a California rehab centre in the 1980s.

The idea does have potential for both serious gritty drama, comedy, and even sharp satire if the scripts are good, and I hope they are. 


Filmmaker Lexi Alexander wrote a blog post about Hollywood being the "real pirates." Now she makes some points. The majors are spending too much on movies that need to break records just to break even, while screwing over just about everyone they rely on to actually make the damn movies. Their anti-piracy operations are ham-handed and effective only at making things difficult and more costly for the law abiding.

However she lost me when she said: "Oh and PS: Hollywood is Republican now."

Does she work in Hollywood?

Has she ever talked to anyone from Hollywood?

Has she ever talked to a Republican? 

Her evidence to this drastic shift in allegiance is a link to a Wall Street Journal article that says the MPAA is trying harder to lobby Republicans since the Republicans have a shot of majorities in the House and Senate after the next midterms, as well as an even money crack at the White House in 2016.

However, she then shoots her whole argument down in the very next paragraph by mentioning that the head of the MPAA is a former Democratic Senator named Chris Dodd, the author of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.

Now I've done a little research on this topic, and I've learned two things.

1. Republicans HATE Chris Dodd. This is because while in the Senate he was considered one of its most partisan members who many blame for creating the increasingly toxic relationship between parties in the formerly civil Senate.

2. Republicans HATE the Dodd-Frank law. Republicans consider Dodd-Frank a boondoggle that creates acres of needless regulations, promotes political cronyism, and enshrines government bailouts of politically connected corporations.

If "Hollywood is Republican now" then they're not doing it very well. Back when Jack Valenti was the head honcho of the MPAA the organization was a model of playing both sides of the political aisle like a fiddle.

Not so anymore.

By most accounts the MPAA is in a pickle. The Democrats take them and their support for granted, while the Republicans view the MPAA with disdain, and the head of the MPAA as their personal enemy.

And that's not even counting the movies and television shows that cast Republicans, Christians, and conservatives in a bad light. People write whole books about them, and I don't have enough time to put them on this blog.

So why would a smart person like Lexi Alexander make such a silly statement that essentially ruins what started out as a reasoned argument.

I suspect that she's trying to protect herself. Using martial arts strategy to use the opponent's attitudes to shield her own career.

The main thrust of her complaint is that Hollywood is lousy at doing the whole diversity thing it demands of others. Just about every major Hollywood job both on and off screen is dominated by white males. Now the last thing anyone in the Hollywood elite wants to be called is prejudiced, it's a career killer for them, nor does anyone want to openly call Hollywood's elite on their hypocrisy, which is a career killer for the whistleblower. Saying "Hollywood is Republican now" gives the accused elite a way out and protects her as the accuser. They can look at the post, look at their invitation to latest fashionable political fundraiser and say: "Phew, she's not talking about me, she's talking about those other guys, I won't have to destroy her career."

It hurts her case, but it protects her career.


The LA Times is concerned that studio blockbusters are suffering precipitous box office drops of 50-75% between the opening weekend and their second weekend.

When I was a kid I noticed that the really big movies were ones that people paid to see it in the theatre more than once. Remember, when I was a kid and if you wanted to see Empire Strikes Back again, you either had to buy a ticket, or wait God-Knows-How-Long before it broadcast on network television.

Nowadays fans see a movie on the opening weekend, and once the thrill of being among the first to see it passes, they're done. If they like the movie, a lot of them figure they'll just buy the Blu-Ray, or see it on Netflix.

The only people these days who want to see something in the theatre more than once are little kids who put flicks like Frozen into the box office stratosphere.

Yet another argument for bringing a little fiscal probity to filmmaking budgets and studio management.

1 comment:

  1. "Republican" is Hollywood speak for monstrous KKK Nazi bigot, so her use of the epithet is just a coded over the top insult. The equivalent of calling the Tea Party "racist". Glad to see Hollywood getting some of their own medicine back as the victimology they've helped foster has finally turned around back at them.

    Goes around- comes around indeed.