Tag: Hollywood

Framing Immigrants of Color for a Violent Hate Crime Is Peak Democrat

 

Imagine it: actor and outspoken conservative James Woods files a police report claiming he was assaulted on a sub-freezing night in Pocatello, ID, by two men wearing pussy hats and shouting “Enjoy the blue state model, cuz!” Woods believes that he was targeted for his political beliefs and is the victim of a hate crime. Additionally, he’s underpaid. Police conduct an investigation during the course of which evidence accrues that Woods was never attacked but instead has perpetuated a hoax. The considerable amount of incriminating evidence includes a check written to — and text messages exchanged with — his alleged assailants.

Woods, though seemingly in legal jeopardy, is suddenly gold again when Pocatello police and the local D.A. drop the matter like the kind of hot potato for which Idaho is famous, but not after conducting an investigation that cost taxpayers over $130,000. But all is not well for the actor: a subsequent special prosecutor investigation determines that Woods seemed to be getting special treatment from the local authorities, who are known to share Woods’ political sympathies. Woods, in other words, seemed to get a pass from authorities because his hoax was on the right side of history.

Worse still for the actor, the special prosecutor finds sufficient evidence to file new charges against him. Now on trial on six counts of disorderly conduct, Woods’ has a story to tell and, actor that he is, he’s sticking to it. White progressives, meanwhile, are confused as history has taught them to be accustomed to Democrats attempting to frame working-class immigrants of color for crimes that were, in fact, orchestrated by one of their own. Indeed, that’s one of the reasons they’re white progressives.

Rob explains an immutable law of show biz physics: bad news travels slow because there’s no money in it, while good news travels fast –really fast– turbo-charged by the notion that money is about to be spent.

Preston Beckman was a network programmer at NBC and Fox for over 30 years. He brought the country “Must See TV” at NBC and was witness to the the start of the reality revolution when he was at Fox. Now, he’s retired and spends his days opining on Twitter about television, politics, and everything in between as his nom de plume, “The Masked Scheduler.”

In this Martini Shot Conversation, Beckman discusses the sweeping changes occurring to the business as it converts from broadcast to streaming and what it means to be a programmer in the 21st century. He also tells some hilarious stories from the olden days when broadcast networks ruled the airwaves, the culture, and the water cooler, and a 20 share could get you canceled.

Your podcast player has been Martini Shot-less for a while now, and Rob has a good reason for it. No, not a Hollywood writer’s excuse why the draft is two months late — he really does have a legitimate excuse for why you haven’t heard from him in a (pardon the expression) long time. Listen and find out. And yes, we’ll be back with another “Shot” next week. We promise.

O.G. Young American Alec Dent returns to the show for a discussion of No Time To Die: Its Millennial character, whether it succumbed to wokeness, whether modern pop culture will allow the continued existence of James Bond, and more.

Filming the Recent Past: Images

 

Many years ago, I was watching a taxicab scene in It’s Always Fair Weather, a great 1955 film, when I noticed something strange, almost Twilight Zone-ish going on: the traffic seen out of the back window of the cab, which rolls on for minutes, is something I’ve seen before. Where? I realized that it was an extended driving scene of a not exactly obscure 1972 film, The Godfather. How did they do that?

That scene in Godfather takes place in 1945-’46 when mafia lieutenant Peter Clemenza and his “boys” take a ride into Manhattan to buy deloused mattresses for an extended stay in a hideout during a gang war. They get into a shiny dark Lincoln on a suburban street in south Queens and drive into the busy streets of the city, all beautifully filmed in nostalgic color, before having to abandon that great car because a traitor’s blood (“Paulie sold out the Old Man!”) gets all over the windshield. The car is so authentic to the period that we briefly notice it still has a war rationing sticker.

Rob considers a mid-life career change, inspired by a couple of pilots that didn’t go forward and fridge full of exotic meats gone bad.

This week, Rob explains a simple axiom of show business: if you want your agents to remain generous with free expensive bottled water and delicious mini chocolate cakes, you have to earn it. Or more accurately, you have to earn for them.

Rob explains how he once got roped into picking up a very large check and offers advice on how you can avoid making the same mistake.

In most areas of show business, most people want more: more lines of dialogue, more scenes, and of course, more money. But Rob explains that if you want to heard more, follow his advice and say less.

Rob is dismayed to discover that the charismatic lead actor for his comedy pilot is being treated for a condition that required him to take medication that made the actor boring.

This week, we’re introducing a new feature to Martini Shot: The Martini Shot Extended Universe! OK, we’re not doing that — at least not yet. Instead, on occasion Rob will be talking to people in the entertainment business who he usually only talks about. Executives, other writers, journalists, maybe even actors.

In today’s  conversation, Rob sits down with Richard Rushfield, the impresario behind The Ankler newsletter, which regularly beats the Hollywood trades at their own game (and yes, you should subscribe). They discuss the recent purchases of Warners and MGM and what that portends for audiences, and why —according to Rob— the obsession many cable and phone companies have with owning studios is nonsense.

Jack Butler brings his National Review colleague Jimmy Quinn back to the show to attempt to solve the dual problem of corporations that advance left-wing pieties at home but roll over for the Chinese Communist Party abroad (and also at home).

Stick the Landing

 

I recently watched one of this year’s Oscar-nominated films, Minari, and was pleasantly surprised. Minari tells the story of a young Korean family circa 1980 struggling to turn a few acres of Arkansas country into a Korean vegetable farm.

It was quite good, until it wasn’t.

This week, Rob explains why lying is an integral part of the Hollywood ecosystem, and passes along a few pointers on how to do it successfully. Really. We’re not lying – that’s what this episode is actually about.

Rob makes a rare detour from commenting on the shifting sands of show business to provide an explainer on the physics of airplane flight (really!) and share the story of a very brave pilot let him take the wheel.

There’s an old show biz adage: comedy is tragedy plus time. Rob explains why awkward moments and dark, biting comments should probably be part of that equation as well.

 

A few weeks ago, Rob promised to auction off this episode of Martini Shot as an NFT (non-fungible token, as the kids say). Then, fate intervened.

 

This week, Rob explains why drinking and then shopping online and the knee jerk tendency of people in the entertainment business to automatically disparage a new idea or venture are both bad habits.

 

Rob explains why there’s one standard for hackneyed dialogue in movies and TV, and a very different one for real life. And why an old song by Prince created a personal RomCom moment for him.