HOLLYWOOD – A LOVE AFFAIR

The LA Times recently published a piece that pronounced the recent rash of Hollywood Executives to be shown the door the best slasher story in years. The LA Times of course left out the second best slasher story, that being all of the slashing that went on at the LA Times, but that would be good reporting and then I wouldn’t be quoting the Times.

So what’s wrong in Hollywood? Why are so many top executives at major studios being Terminatored?

IT’S THE PRODUCT STUPID!!!

That’s right if you make bad product, it doesn’t make money, and then you get fired. Pretty simple, but not really…Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end, so let’s start at the beginning and see if we can’t gain some substantive understanding of the problems facing Hollywood—not just the “DVD sells are down” excuse, but the reality of the difficulty of making dreams come to life.

The complexity of succeeding in the motion picture industry is really more a derivative of a left-brain right-brain conflict. Meaning that there is creative art and the business of creative art. The highest level of success that one can achieve in the motion picture / television industry comes from the optimum balance of these two factors – and yes there is an optimum balance and it can be achieved. The job of achieving this balance falls to a Studio Head.

Think about this task for a moment…A Studio Head has a person on the business side that wants to spend as little money as possible and he has a person on the creative side that will spend as much money as possible to achieve a creative vision – this is the best case scenario. The job of managing this endless conflict is a sign of a healthy studio. And somewhere the Studio Head should have a go to person, a tiebreaker, a person that pulls the trigger and ultimately says yes or no—all things considered.

All things considered is where much of the trouble of the last ten years has come from—ALL THINGS ARE NOT BEING CONSIDERED. Continue reading

An Education – Movie Review

As the school bell rings the start of another day, let me say this – AN EDUCATION is some kind of education!

Jenny is your average 16 year old schoolgirl.  Attending a private school in the London suburb of Twickenham, her father pushes her to be the best, get those straight “A’s”, study, study, study, earn that scholarship to Oxford.  And after all, you need to go to college to find a husband. (I know, I know.  What do you expect in 1961?)  Between classes all day and cello practice every afternoon compounded with extra Latin homework every night (Cogito Ergo Sum), Jenny is left little time for any social life.  Yet, she still finds time to dream of the day she leaves home, venturing out into a world filled with excitement and adventure.  Sprawled on her bedroom floor singing along to the sounds of Parisian singer Juliette Greco, Jenny’s teenage angst is blossoming.

Then one rainy day, Jenny’s wish for excitement and adventure is prematurely answered when a stranger named David, driving a fancy Bristol roadster, takes pity on this poor girl toting a cello walking in the rain. Continue reading

Go For It

Encountering a stranger who knows more about your life than he should is eerie.  Well, I don’t mean to startle you, but I do know a private fact about you.  I know that you are weighing up a decision in your life.

To be sure, I do not know any details.  I have no idea whether you are considering a geographic move, a job change, an investment, or whether you are considering a family or medical decision, but there is certainly some fork in the road that you are confronting.  And because I am quite ignorant of your particular situation, I am unable to advise any specifics.

However, I can help you focus some ancient Jewish wisdom onto your predicament.  This will help illuminate your direction just as focusing a flashlight in a dark forest at night reveals previously unseen paths. Continue reading

DOWNTOWN OLIVER BROWN AN INTERSECTION OF LOCALS

1100 Wilshire had been an office building with no tenants before the most recent housing boom came along and made it a place that people who enjoy a sky-pool call home. Frankly, the pool at the Skyline, where I am currently borrowing a rich friend’s place, is probably the nicest in Downtown—I’ve used it once. Anyway, it was David Kean’s fortieth birthday so there I was.

“Happy birthday, old boy,” I said handing David a bottle of wine that I had just picked up from Mike Berger at Ralph’s.

About a year ago I signed a copy of my last book for a very nice woman who approached me at the Water Grill while I was having dinner. It turned out that her husband is the CEO of Kroger and much like Starbucks I got one of those plastic cards in the mail—I haven’t had a grocery bill in a year.

“Forty, welcome to my world,” I said to Dave.

 “I know. I woke up feeling older,” David mourned.

 “Not to worry old boy, it only gets worse.” I laughed. “Is that an olive spread?” I asked gesturing toward the red, lacquer, Chinioserie tea table.

 “It is, help yourself,” said David, happy to not have to listen to anymore of my getting old jokes.

 I plopped down on the modern, tan, mohair sofa next to Eric Everhard the porn star. I don’t think Everhard is his real last name, but if it is, I hear that it suits him.

 “Hi Eric.”

 “Hey Oliver!”

 I reached for a cracker and some olive spread. “So what’s up…I mean working hard…I mean how’s life treating you?”

 Eric smiled; he’s a very cool guy. “Oliver I’m a porn star, how bad can life be? Other than my back is just killing me—job hazard.”

 I had never thought of the strain that his particular line of work puts on the back and hips, but suddenly it made sense. Continue reading

IRAN

Several months ago I wrote in a downtownster blog that Iran was seeking to develop nuclear weapons – unequivocally. I went on to say that sanctions would not cause the Iranian government to halt their development of a nuclear weapon. I did not mention the not so well kept secret of the uranium enrichment facility built into a mountain, in the middle of a military base, near the city of Qom…I thought it prudent to leave that to our elected officials who are entrusted with the safety of our country, but I certainly did suggest the possibility. And because we begin with some necessary reflection I must also reiterate that the only way to put an end to the Iranian nuclear weapons program is through decisive military action.

My regular readers, no doubt, still pondering my recent call for a force of one million soldiers to be deployed to Afghanistan, might think a second military action in the region over reaching—it’s not. Iran will require a massive air assault aimed at destroying all of its nuclear facilities and a ground invasion that should first secure Iranian oil assets and second destroy the Islamist government infrastructure that aids and abets global terrorism. As a punitive action for flagrantly disregarding international law the Iranian naval fleet should be additionally targeted and destroyed completely. This is the only course of action that can be taken, given Iran’s outright treachery.

Previously I’ve described the scene America will awake to when a nuclear weapon is detonated in one or more of our cities –Washington and New York are the targets. The weapons, which will be delivered through a terrorist network will come from one of the following: North Korea, Pakistan, the former Soviet Union, or if it is allowed to continue, Iran. But make no mistake; Iran is exponentially more likely to supply such a weapon, because Iran’s leaders are compelled by ideology and the other’s are not. Literally, Iran’s leaders are not afraid to bring about the destruction of their own country as long as they have destroyed America in the process.

So it can thus be surmised that Iran is a greater threat to America than it is to Israel, but this is an issue of extreme complexity. Continue reading