Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.
There were two big stories this weekend that interested me this week. The first was Lance Armstrong finally admitting he used PEDs to win seven Tour de France races as he asked for redemption from the celebrity version of the Pope: Oprah Winfrey. And Paramount is going to make a movie about him, too, with the guy who created Lost. And I initially thought of the usual wacky list of directors and films about Armstrong that could come out but I’ll save that for another day. Something a friend of mine posted on Facebook, however, fascinated me.
The New York Times did this amazing piece of working with Lindsay Lohan on set of the film The Canyons. You can see the trailer below. Yeah … looks like more of an epic disaster waiting to happen than even Liz and Dick turned out to be.
What surprised me about the piece, first and foremost, were the sheer candid nature of what everyone had to say about Lohan and her on-set antics of the micro-indie. The fact that everyone was on the record essentially saying she was completely unprofessional and a pain in the ass to work with, without actually using those words, is something. They said it diplomatically but the writer of the article laid out her behavior for the world to see. The fact that the article was published says everything you need to know about Lohan as an actress right now.
She’s talented but such a disaster to work with that pretty soon she’ll be doing hardcore pornography to pay the bills; when you can’t make it through the shoot on a micro indie you know things are bad. Usually when it comes to films with short filming times, et al, most actors are usually pretty professional about it. Usually these types of shoots with name actors are schedule fillers; if you have a week or two and are doing someone you know a solid, like Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer showing up for a minute in her brother’s indie. James Deen doesn’t take time away from a fairly lucrative porn career for a film like this unless it’s for a higher purpose, to try and build acting bona fides for when he leaves adult films altogether. Everyone’s there for a purpose and has a short window of time to get this done. Micro-indies with name Hollywood people are about timing more than anything else; studios can reserve blocks of time with actors.
Small productions can’t and thus they have that week or two lulls between films to get it done.
So the fact that Lohan acted this way, and it came out in a significant manner, says a lot about people’s perception of her. Hollywood is an industry that operates on deception. From Hollywood accounting to industry news being broken via rumor and anonymous sources, the entire industry of motion picture making works in a lot of ways because it’s populated by lying liars and the lies they tell. It’s a holdover from the studio system era; Hollywood and its stars were about perception during the golden era of movie stars.
It’s kind of a useful hypocrisy in many ways. Actors, directors and producers can talk about the truth of things, and the truth of a performance, but you can tell 99% of Hollywood is lying most times because their lips are moving. But you can tell the truth of things because there’s a system of Hollywood honesty. And as always I’ve got a key for you to break it down.
6. Electronic Press Kit Honesty … Or What You Have To Say To Sell The Donuts
This is Hollywood’s base level of honesty; everything is wonderful and nothing is wrong. It’s why press tours are worthless and celebrity interviews on television shows are equally so. They’re promoting a product, like Billy Mays promoting Oxy Clean, and when they talk about anything relating to a film they’re in (or producing or directing) they have to say everything is wonderful. It’s why everyone says Jack Black is funny despite any evidence to the contrary; product has to be sold and sometimes you have to just lie to people.
5. Reading between the lines – what someone is really saying when they give an interview
This only happens when matters of controversy happen to come out in an actor’s interview. It’s more of a matter of translating what they’re saying into real people speak as opposed to the actor speak they’re used to bamboozling vapid tabloid television show “reporters” with.
Example: He stayed in character the entire time
Reality: Do you know how much of a pain in the ass it is to deal with that guy? I mean really?
Example: Using a racial slur was something I had a lot of difficulties dealing with.
Reality 1: I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE
Reality 2: As much as I’d like to work with Spike Lee, he doesn’t pay very much. Actors got to eat, right?
Reality 3: Quentin promised me an Oscar if I’d take it for the team
Example: I got into shape with a really good personal trainer and nutritionist; it’s not that hard you just have to really want it.
Reality: I had so many needles in my ass you’d think I was a pin-cushion
Example: We had really good chemistry on the set; it gets easy to work with someone when you they’re your friend
Reality: You should see the pictures; my god she was like sexual napalm. I mean seriously … it was like a porno, a really filthy one.
Example: I like to do a wide variety of roles; sometimes you can learn a lot about yourself as an actor by doing indie work a lot
Reality: I’m too old for a Michael Bay film
Example: Before I starred in a comic book film I didn’t read them. Now that I have I read them regularly
Reality: Just buy the action figure and see the film, dork
Example: I was inspired by the cause
Reality: The check was really big … I mean seriously, who the fuck cares about this for more than two seconds?
Example: I’ve seriously thought about a political career at some point; I’d like to contribute something meaningful to society
Reality: If people are stupid to elect Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood, the Terminator, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Venture and Al Franken to office it can’t be that hard.
Example: I really was motivated by the material; sometimes a good role is worth it
Reality: My name is Nicholas Cage and I owe the IRS a lot of money
Example: When you’re on screen with Jack Black you just have to react to his energy
Reality: Is this guy retarded?
4. Set Leak Honesty … Or What People Want You To Know Without Telling You So
When people in Hollywood want things to be known but don’t want to actually have their name attached to them they leak it to Deadline Hollywood, et al. Set moles are an industry standard, of course, and when Hollywood types want to craft a narrative about someone but can’t say anything officially they leak it. Like how Katherine Heigl or Bruce Willis aren’t necessarily nice people to work with; it goes against the narrative and the marketing but people want it known out there. It’s why Nikki Finke has such a lucrative position in Hollywood; when the narrative needs to be adjusted they first go to her to get the story out without putting a name to it. People don’t want to poison the money-making well, of course, but they do have “issues” with people that get waged in the public forum it seems.
People were worried about The A-Team film because it had massive set problems, or so was leaked.
3. Unofficial Statement Honesty
When Michael Bay’s production staff released a statement defending the director from Megan Fox’s comments after she got hosed from the third Transformers film it was a rare moment of honesty from Hollywood. When statements get released without signatures it says a lot; it means someone cares enough to say something but still wants to work.
2. After the Fact Honesty
You know how some actors, years after the fact, talk about how some of their films stunk well after they’ve made all the money they can off them? That’s usually the second highest level of honesty you can get from an actor/director/producer. Shia Labeouf made waves when he discussed his feelings about how the films he’s made that were big studio fare were kind of bad, of course, but he had no problem brown-nosing and pumping them up to make as much money as possible. It’s a sort of dishonest level of honesty; he can afford to be honest NOW but had no problem cashing people’s checks when it came to the actual films.
1. All Laid Out There Honesty
When your sins are laid out there, for the world to see, because no one cares about you enough to get the story killed, that’s Hollywood’s highest level of honesty. There’s a difference between this and anecdotal humor, of course. Tom Arnold once told a story about being at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s birthday party and they had a tiger in a cage there. Apparently Arnold, completely sauced, thought it’d be funny to throw the tiger in his pool. Shenanigans ensued, of course, but these are cute little moments that give an insight into their lives. Total Hollywood honesty always involves bad press, of course.
It’d be like someone going “Oh my god, how did this Diablo Cody gal win an Oscar for a screenplay when she can’t write her own name without fucking it up” in an interview when asked about the Juno screenwriter. Lohan’s NY Times story is the perfect level of Hollywood laying it all out there.
This Week’s DVD – The Amazing Spider-Man
If Sam Raimi had never made a film about Spider-Man we’d have called Marc Webb’s version the definitive version of the hero. As it was The Amazing Spider-Man was a pretty good film, one of my Top 10 of 2012.
You can read my original review right here, of course, but my thoughts remain the same. Great film, loved it, strong recommendation on it.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – Another children’s yarn turned action film, like Snow White and the Huntsman.
Skip It – The Kristen Stewart film was not good and this one looks even worse.
Movie 43 – Wacky skits!
See It – So far it looks funny … only concern is whether or not nearly two hours of skits can work as a film.
Parker – Jason Statham … well … Stathams it up a bit.
Skip It – When you’ve seen one Statham film you’ve seen them all. It’ll be enjoyable to a certain degree but ultimately forgettable.
John Die s at the End – Based off a graphic novel or something.
See It – So far the reviews have been stellar.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .