Not Her Place

This is going to sound funny, but there are actresses and other very attractive women who easily or naturally associate with the beach-blanket bikini bingo world, and there are those who personality-wise or spiritually-speaking don’t quite seem to belong in that realm. Emma Stone, no offense, belongs in the latter category. She’s all about spirit, eyes, pizazz, snap. And she’s not a blonde. And The Help looks like trouble.


If anyone has a copy of Diablo Cody‘s Lamb of God, a script about a young conservative woman who visits Las Vegas, please pass along. It was reported yesterday that Cody will direct the film (possibly later this year) with Mason Novick producing.

9:51 pm Update: I was sent a copy a couple of hours ago and have skimmed through it. That Michael Fleming logline about the main character, who’s literally named Lamb, being a Christian who turns to stripping is incorrect. It is, however, a moral tale about a Christian girl among the hapless heathens. The Vegas strip but no stripping, Cheetah Club, cash gifts, a dead fiance, a skin graft, Vicodins, etc. A well-written, sometimes sassy but more often plain-spoken drama about sins, values, generosity, growth.

Smith Has It, Reynolds Doesn’t

In a piece called “The Movie Star,” Grantland‘s Bill Simmons, the sports guy who writes brilliantly about movies every time he steps up to the Hollywood plate, says there are 24 male movie stars right now. The article is basically a two-parter that compares the careers of Ryan Reynolds vs. Will Smith, and how the latter is perhaps the only real movie star around and why Reynolds, for all his likability, good looks and talent, may never get there.

The Big 24, he says, are “Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey, Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washginton, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Russell Crowe, Jeff Bridges, Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Will...

If White Likes It…

In the view of New York Press critic Armond White, Larry Crowne “is the humanist opposite to Hollywood’s self-congratulatory snark. It’s irresistibly friendly, shot in vivid tones by Philippe Rousselot and, most importantly, is non-toxic” — which characterized, White feels, Charlie Wilson’s War, the last costarring vehicle for Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. And then comes a classic Armond White line if I’ve ever heard one: “Larry Crowne‘s lack of cynicism requires an audience that doesn’t hate itself.” Well, that lets me out!

Matter of Perspective

To call someone a “dick” is a colloquial shortform way of saying they’ve acted in a snide or petty or selfish or brusque manner. MSNBC contributor Mark Halperin is a rightie, of course, and since the topic at hand was (apparently) the debt-ceiling negotiations, what he was saying was that his Republican pallies have told him that President Obama was playing a kind of snippy hardball with them.

To which I say, “Then he’s doing something right!”

You can’t be mean and tough and “Chicago gangsta” enough when it comes to the radical corporate-fellating right. Any pain and stress and...

Three Factors To Overcome

Box Office Mojo‘s Brandon Gray is reporting that the $37.3 million earned yesterday by Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a technical shortfaller. Although it earned 2011’s biggest opening-day income, T3 nonetheless “pales compared to the opening day income of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and likely yielded fewer viewers than the first Transformers.”

There are three reasons for this. One, a large percentage of moviegoers are always slow on the pickup as far as advance internet buzz is concerned, and so they haven’t heard that the film has to be seen for the 45-minute attack-on-Chicago finale. Two, the crappy quality of Revenge of the Fallen has diminished general interest in the franchise. And three, people are feeling a little burned out right now about 3D franchise movies and so a certain percentage didn’t go yesterday because they’re taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Ray of Sunlight

Columbia Journalism Review reporter Joel Meares has written a reasonable, fair-minded, occasionally amusing profile of Hollywood Elsewhere (and myself, of course). I don’t know what else to say except I’m glad that it’s balanced and kind and accurate and respectful. And not caustic or snippy. Thanks much to Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone for saying all those nice, perceptive things.

I asked Meares to make two minor changes and he refused. I asked him to list a couple of other big names who read HE and he said “naahh.” Then I said it sounds more natural and conversational when you say “over and over again” instead of “over again,” which is how he quotes me in...

Realm of Imagination

How do you make a movie about Rod Serling, the creator of the Twilight Zone series? That’s the intention of Bureau of Moving Pictures’ Andrew Meieran and screenwriter Stanley Weiser (W, Wall Street), according to Deadline’s Mike Fleming. But you can’t just make one of those “this happens and then that happens” biopics. You need a thematic through-line and a compelling psychological undercurrent.

I thought about the project this morning and wrote Weiser (whom I’ve gotten to know a little bit over the years) the following:

“It strikes me that the only way to write a movie...

Can’t Miss, Can’t Lose

From the director of Let The Right One In, an adaptation of John LeCarre‘s slow-burn adult suspense tale (this time set in the ’70s) about uncovering the identity of a Russian mole within the British Secret Service. Pure candy and ice cream for someone like myself, but for the under-30 Eloi crowd….? And for Joe Popcorn living in Dubuque and Trenton and Tucumcari?

Shot by the great Hoyte van Hotema (The Fighter) and costarring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and Ciaran Hinds. And “opening” only two and half months from now at Telluride/Toronto/Venice (although the U.S. debut via Focus Features isn’t until...

Not To Be

Tonight I finally watched the pilot for Tilda, the might-have-been cable series about a Nikki Finke-like online columnist (very nicely played by Diane Keaton) that HBO declined to pick up last February. Too bad because Hollywood Elsewhere has a brief insert-shot appearance near the beginning when Ellen Page, playing a studio employee who feeds dirt to Keaton, glances at a list of Hollywood websites before settling on Tilda’s The Daily Circus.

You know what’s funny? The “H” logo that sits to the left of Hollywood Elsewhere’s URL in actuality is sitting to the left of the URL for New York‘s “Vulture.”


‘Friends With Benefits meets No Strings Attached. Received today from Ben Churchill, the Blind Film Critic

13 Years Ago

Terrence Malick‘s 10.1.96 draft of The Thin Red Line was tight and true and straight to the point, and it had no alligators sinking into swamps or shots of tree branches or pretty leaves or that South Sea native AWOL section or any of that languid and meditative “why is there such strife in our hearts?” stuff. During the junket round-tables I got Jim Caviezel, George Clooney, Nick Nolte, Elias Koteas, Mike Medavoy and Ben Chaplin to autograph my copy.

Glide Path

Larry Crowne makes no bones about its attempt to tell an upbeat story,” writes Marshall Fine. “Undoubtedly, at a time when unemployment is soaring and lives are collapsing as a result, some may fault it for taking a sour subject – losing a job in a down economy – and turning it into a feel-good story. But Hanks’ script – cowritten with Nia Vardalos of My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame – is about a guy with a positive attitude, with the will and resources to move forward.

“No doubt Larry Crowne will be criticized for all of the things it doesn’t do. It doesn’t address the economic tragedy that Larry’s situation means for so many people. It doesn’t build to a life-and-death climax. It is, instead, a stealth comedy, low-key but consistently satisfying, a movie that focuses on the power of positivity without getting melodramatic about it.”


This is an amazing video. It was posted five or six days ago, and I’ve watched it four times today. It isn’t simulated. A seagull really did scoop up a tiny lightweight video camera and fly away with it. It happened in Cannes. (Initially posted by Awards Daily‘s Ryan Adams on 6.27.)

Cowflop and Gag-All

“Chicago is the great American city. New York is one of the capitals of the world and Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic, San Francisco is a lady, Boston has become Urban Renewal, Philadelphia and Baltimore and Washington wink like dull diamonds in the smog of Eastern Megalopolis, and New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter. Detroit is a one-trade town, Pittsburgh has lost its golden triangle, St. Louis has become the golden arch of the corporation, and nights in Kansas City close early. The oil depletion allowance makes Houston and Dallas naught but checkerboards for this sort of game. But Chicago is a great American city. Perhaps it is the last of the great American cities.” — from “Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968” by Norman...

Grand-Slam Blitzkrieg

No question about it: the 45-minute Chicago finale of Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon (Paramount, now playing) is absolutely jump-off-a-skyscraper insane. It’s astonishing, exhilarating, relentless, pulverizing…and yes, finally exhausting. Even if you’re a confirmed Michael Bay hater you have to give the guy credit for shooting this stunningly energized and visually giddy CG symphony of madness out of a shotgun and right through your 3D glasses. And none of it amounts to anything more than motion and chaos and fury designed entirely to sell tickets.

I didn’t even see the extra-bright Platinum version (which I’m going to try and see later today) and my mouth was hanging open. I’ve never seen a battle scene that went on this long and with this level of sustained...

Power of Persuasion

Two minor corrections for A.O. Scott‘s “Critics’ Pickscommentary about the 1957 classic Sweet Smell of Success: (a) Scott adds a nonexistent “The” to the title; and (b) Clifford Odets‘ screenplay is not “based on a novel by Ernest Lehman” but a Lehman novella called “Tell Me About It Tomorrow,” which originally appeared as a 1950 short story in Cosmopolitan magazine.

If the novella was ever sold in perfect-bound book form it’s