Thursday, March 27, 2008

The shoe, the other foot, and the blacklist

Consider this plot line from a film currently under development: Powerful figures consumed with greed, engage in nefarious schemes and seek to silence underdog critics through intimidation and blacklisting.

Hmmm, you say. Could it be...

A story of shadowy government figures waging a covert war for oil and the plucky/smokin' hot whistle blower out to stop them? Nope.

A cautionary tale of soldiers who dared speak the truth about American war atrocities and the plucky/smokin' hot reporter who gave them a voice? Not even close.

Oliver Stone's yet-to-be released bio-film of a plucky/smokin' hot George W. Bush (working title: Nixon, The Sequel)? Good guess, but no.

Enough of that...No, the plot line above is roughly that of a screenplay (and the concomitant controversy) in the works about the Sundance Film Festival, Miramax Films, and the murky world of indie movie making. The script is based on a book by Peter Biskind entitled, Down and Dirty Pictures, which supposedly offers the not-so-pretty truth about Robert Redford, Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood A-listers. Apparently the book did not go over well with the people who care about such things. Since I am not one to be included in that group, I won't try to judge whether the book's critics are on the mark. And actually, the book's (and the potential film's) veracity makes no difference to me, and is secondary to the point of this post.

Rather, the goal here is to frolic in the fun of some old-time Hollywood hypocrisy. I'll let entertainment writer, Roger Friedman, do the heavy lifting. Since his short article on the subject is too priceless to chop into standard blogbits, I've pasted the whole thing below. My favorite passages are highlighted. As you read through the piece, ask yourself the following question: "Is this how the Bush Regime fascists treat film artists producing works critical of them?" (Yeah, I know you know the answer, but humor me and ask it anyway.)

Hollywood Assassination: Secret Screenplay 'Exposes' Indie Film World

There’s a secret screenplay going around Hollywood for casting, but it’s not likely one of the major players will touch it with a 10-foot pole.

The script is for a film version of Peter Biskind’s critically panned, much-loathed,
bitter "expose" of the Sundance Film Festival and the indie film world called "Down and Dirty Pictures."According to the script, it’s written by a newcomer named Joshua James and will be directed by someone called Kenneth Bowser. The listed producer is Kevin Scott Frakes and the film company that’s going to make this thing is Palm-Star Entertainment.

But really, the movie these people should have made is called "You’ll Never Eat Lunch or Any Meal or Ever Work in This Town Again."

That’s because Biskind’s book was unkind and inaccurate appraisal of the Sundance Film Festival, Redford and the old Miramax Films, including the Weinstein brothers.

Biskind, I’m told, is taking the stance that he’s "horrified" by the making of his book into a movie. But on the Palm Star Web site, he’s quoted: "Behind the cameras with the giants of the indie film scene in the 90’s was almost as exciting as what was in front of the cameras. It’s a subject that demands to be made into a feature film."

Well, Biskind is wrong. No parodies of Hollywood ever have been successful or even partially interesting to the general public, with maybe the exception of Robert Altman’s "The Player." Otherwise, the audience is not even remotely compelled to figure out what’s going on. Witness the recent debacle of turning Art Linson’s memoir, "What Happened Next," into an unfunny comedy starring Robert DeNiro.

When it debuted, ironically, at Sundance, no one laughed. It still has no distributor.

Those who’ve seen the script for "D&D" say that Redford, Weinstein and many other key Hollywood power players are depicted — and none too kindly. What are these Palm Star people thinking, really? This is the kind of idea that sounds good late at night but should have been dismissed the next morning.

And who would you hate to be more? The actor hired to play Redford or Weinstein? They have to be the least-desired parts ever offered for casting, with the exception of Mark David Chapman in the new John Lennon assassination film, "Chapter 27."

Goodness me. That last graph is especially frightening. I wonder if Benicio del Toro had that problem on his two latest projects (here and here).


Blogger Gildersleeve said...

That so-bad-I-couldn't-finish-watching-it conspiracy "documentary" Loose Change caught on after being made available online. With websites like MySpace and Google video, perhaps the director should try making the film available online. Alot more people would potentially watch it that way then ever would at an independent film festival.

Speaking personally, however, this movie sounds boring as hell.

10:05 PM  
Blogger John Egel said...

No doubt the movie would be a classic snoozer. The entertainment value lies in H-wood's reaction to it.

7:34 AM  

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