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Archives: May 2006

Snakes on a motherf@#%ing plane!

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Attention summer theater-goers: Movie perfection has been achieved.

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Rwandan president: “Hotel Rwanda” a “rewrite” of history

Astonishing claims today out of Africa, where Rwandan president Paul Kagame dimissed “Hotel Rwanda” as a “rewrite” of history. hotel_rwanda.jpg

More, per Reuters, the president “said people in the hotel were saved in part because U.N. forces occupied the hotel and because the killers wanted to keep it as a place where they could drink beer after a long day of killing and discuss whom to kill the following day.”

Initially, we thought of making a glib comment about Hutus bearing a striking resemblance to Endeavor agents putting away Heinekens at the Four Seasons, but realized that that would be going too far, and promptly recoiled from it.

Now we’re just plain horrified all over again.

The Devil’s in the details: 06-06-06

The movie business is officially possessed.

Or perhaps it’s just drunk with glee over the fabulous “X Men: The Last Stand” grosses. Either way, Fox domestic distribution president Bruce Snyder today actually let slip that the reason the studio remade “The Omen” was entirely due to the calendar’s unusual confluence of sixes. As in: Tuesday, June 6th, 2006. stanley52art3.jpg

As Snyder told the Hollywood Reporter‘s Martin Grove,

“If it was a Wednesday it wouldn’t be quite as difficult, but that’s the reason you make the movie (so you can launch it) when 666 rolls around again. So we had to go out on that Tuesday.”

Good Lord, man. That’s the reason you made the movie? Because the release date is a bunch of sixes?!

In the words of a certain nanny: Look at me Fox! It’s all for you!

Target takes aim at Ziggy Marley

More and more, we’re impressed by those acts who flip their labels the bird and go solo. Amy Mann. Alanis Morrissette. And now, Ziggy Marley.Ziggy_Marley_Color.jpg


Today, Billboard carries thew word that the Son of Bob has ignited a big fattie in aisle 10: A deal, in perpetuity, with Target.

Viz,

“This is the best time, in terms of owning your own masters,” Marley recently told Billboard.com about his free-agent status. “This was a dream of my father (the late Bob Marley). I’m actually fulfilling what he wanted. Right now, I feel like I’m doing for him what he wanted to do. After ‘Uprising,’ his last album for Island Records (in 1980), he was going to do his own thing.”

Your damn skippy, Ziggy: Alanis, for example, made out like a bandit from an exclusive-for-six-weeks sales arrangement with Starbucks last year.

The downside to such deals? Big chains aren’t going to back you if you do something edgy. Anyone remember Bruce Springsteen’s album debacle? But we’re guessing that’s not something Ziggy’s too worried about these days, mon. image_1418149.jpg

And if Target starts offering a Michael Graves Ganja Dryer? We’ll know this deal has really begun to make sense.

LAT in 90 seconds

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– Wow. I had no idea that if you feel you’ve been “psychologically damaged by the process” of dating, you can get millions of dollars worth of compensation. Lucky me! I might just be a billionaire.

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– Scathing commentary from Daniel Goldhagen today, excoriating the Pope’s white-washing of Germany’s involvement in the Holocaust. Goldhagen also wrote the book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners,” one of the most interesting and readable books on the subject we’ve encountered.

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– Olga Rutterschmidt. The Joker. We ask: They’re obviously twins. The real question is, who’s the evil twin.

Marvel…at the spin

God, we love Hollywood: Even when someone appears to have been shot out of a cannon, it can still be made to sound marvelous.

As is the case at Marvel Entertainment, which today shed Avi Arad as its chairman and CEO.

Viz, the Hollywood Reporter: “Fresh off his successful turn as producer of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand,’ which enjoyed one of the biggest opening weekends in boxoffice history, Avi Arad has stepped down as head of Marvel Entertainment’s film studio to run his own production company.”

Right. Because anyone in their right mind would leave that job voluntarily. Marvel’s stock shot down nearly 4% on the news, and rightfully so.

Arad, of course, engineered one of the greatest turnarounds of Hollywood history. Before he and Ike Perlmutter came in, Marvel was so broke it, it literally had to auction off its front door to emerge from bankruptcy. Arad’s hits need to introduction: Sony’s “Spider-man” and its sequels not only saved Marvel, it saved Amy Pascal‘s job as chairman of Columbia pictures.captain america.JPG

But the company has had difficulty replicating that success. “Hulk” was a costly underperformer. “Daredevil” barely crawled to $100 million, and its spin-off, “Elektra” well, let’s just say Jennifer Garner was forced at gunpoint into that leather bodysuit. We’ll leave aside “The Punisher” and “Man-thing.” No need to get bitchy, now.

No, based on what Arad is taking with him, it looks like he’s being given or given himself a golden parachute: A piece of how ever many “Spider-man’s” can be made at Sony, the damaged-goods “Hulk” and the iffy “Iron Man,” – the latter of which has staunchly refused to be made at New Line Cinema for the last five years.

The future doesn’t look terribly bright, but today looks mah-velous, as Variety points out:

“Not only is Arad basking in the glow of the boffo $122.9 million opening for “X-Men: the Last Stand”– which made it politically easier to exit now — but he has 3.15 million shares in Marvel Entertainment that vested last Friday. Arad immediately moved to sell the shares Wednesday, making nearly $60 million in the process.”

Whether he jumped or was pushed, Avi got while the gettin’ was good.

Lunch At Michael’s: We’ll Have The Usual … Crowd, That Is

One would think that on the Wednesday after Memorial Day, which marks beginning of the media industry’s annual slide into torpor for three months, that Michael’s would have been a lot more quiet than it was today. But they would, of course, be wrong. (Maybe there was something to David Patrick Columbia’s rant a few weeks back about everyone wanting to preen during our visits. Or maybe not.) In any case, today had neither the publishing-topheaviness of last week nor the all out circus of two weeks ago. If the word can ever be used to describe the Michael’s lunch crowd, today was … normal. Don’t believe us? Here’s the rundown:

Table 1: Renowned plastic surgeon (and author of “Absolute Beauty”) Gerald Imber dominated the bay window table, which was filled a lunchtime crew that’s been meeting for decades, including Jerry della Femina and Michael Kramer.

2: NBC News/CNBC honcho Jonathan Wald lunched with his attorney Michael Tanchum.

3. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive faced our direction, while the beautiful woman with her back to us turned out to be none other than Iman. (Our loss, obviously.)

4. Ron Perelman, once again in shirtsleeves, held down the corner table with a gentleman we couldn’t identify, but whom Henry Schleiff seems to know, based on their brief post-lunch chat.

5. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun with Grace Hightower (i.e. Mrs. Robert DeNiro).

6. Henry Schleiff (who, as predicted, appears to have more time for lunch than ever now that he’s winding down his time at Court TV) was joined today by Patricia Duff. There was palpable tension between Duff and her second ex-husband — the once-again-single Perelman, who (the legend has it) kept his jet fueled and waiting for her on the tarmac of LAX when her first marriage to film producer Mike Medavoy was fizzling out in the early ’90s.

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Above the Fold: How the Major Papers Played A1

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New York Times: The nomination of Henry Paulson as Treasury Secretary is placed in the top-right with a large picture of him and President Bush at the announcement. On the upper right is a story about the U.S. Military’s dispute of the account of events during the massacre in Haditha, Iraq is beside a piece about a European high court’s ruling that will make it difficult for the U.S. to obtain passenger data for air travelers.

Washington Post: Bush’s choice of Paulsen as treasury secretary is in the top right, while an article about the conviction of D.C. sniper John Allan Muhammad runs down the far-left column. A local story about deaths at D.C. group homes runs under a large photograph of children playing.

Los Angeles Times: Tops with a picture of wounded CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier being evacuated to a military hospital in Germany, with a story on the top right about the fading hopes for a military pullback from Iraq. On the upper left is a story about how Christians are using the Internet to spread the gospel. A story below the picture finds that California lacks housing for sex offenders.

SalesRants: ‘The Sick Part Is: I Love Doing This’

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Ever since buying my first used Jetta, I’ve always loathed sales dudes. But they’re an undeniably fascinating study, and given the state of selling magazine advertising, I’ve always wondered what they’d sound like unfiltered. Well, the mediabistro mothership found one willing to dish dirt anonymously, and we’re definitely intrigued.

SalesRants: Tales From the Field

Rush Limbaugh Takes The Piss Out Of Pees On Earth

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Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh used up a few inches in his Limbaugh Letter to blast the recently-published Pees On Earth, a book of photographs by New York-based Ellen Jong, whose inspiration was, well, just what the title says: her pee. Jong traveled the world capturing peeing — hers and others — on film.

Limbaugh writes:

Most people relieve themselves in private. But if you’re a card-carrying member of the lefty arts-and-croissants crowd, you snap photos. Many years ago, Ellen Jong was forced by a long Mahattan line to take an, ahem, outdoor bathroom break. Being a self-absorbed photographer, she was struck by the astonishing beauty of what trickled down the sidewalk. … Contributor Annie Sprinkle provides the pretentious lib gobbledygook text.

Forget our take* on the book for a second. Why on pee-stained earth would Rush Limbaugh care about a small book that tests the limits of, in essence, a urine sample?

Oh.

* Gimmicky, sure, but impressive, too, particularly in Jong’s ability to make urinating a psychedelic experience. [image courtesy of powerHouse Books/Ellen Jong]

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