February 23rd, 2008
08:44 PM ET

Razzing on the worst in film

“Eddieee … what have you done for me lately?”

Razzies

The Razzie winners were announced Saturday in Santa Monica, just a short drive from Hollywood.

That was a famous punch line in “Eddie Murphy Raw,” and it’s clearly appropriate after Murphy got skewered at the Razzie Awards on Saturday morning. He “won” three awards - worst actor, worst supporting actor and worst supporting actress - for the 2007 bomb “Norbit,” and he was a constant target for the wisecracking Razzie presenters.

It’s crazy to think the guy was nominated just last year for an Oscar. And he might have won, too, if - as one presenter pointed out - “Norbit” hadn’t been released just before the Academy Awards. Awful timing.

And Lindsay Lohan, she got it even worse. If you want to hear what the presenters had to say about her and “I Know Who Killed Me,” check out this audio slideshow.

Razzies founder John Wilson said he invited Lohan and Murphy to come to the show and accept their awards - like Halle Berry did a few years ago - but they apparently didn’t think much of that idea. Too bad.

I wonder how I would feel if some of my work was mercilessly ripped like that. I’d like to think I’d be able to laugh at myself, especially if I had past accolades and millions of dollars like Lohan and Murphy. But who knows?

“Movies You’ll Hate in 2008”: At the end of the Razzies, a video screen showed some possible favorites for next year.

There were slides for “Jumper,” “Horton Hears a Who!” and Tom Cruise (“Valkyrie”). But the loudest ovations were for “Rambo” and the Paris Hilton flop “The Hottie and the Nottie.”

– From CNN.com Senior Associate Producer Kyle Almond

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February 20th, 2008
07:59 PM ET

No Depression sadness

Magazines have faced difficult times in recent years, from the splintering of audiences to the costs of postage and newsprint. To the towering stack of defunct print publications, it’s time to add another: No Depression.

The music magazine, which focused on alt-country and roots rock, never had a huge circulation- – according to its Web site, recent print runs have been from 30,000 to 34,000 copies - but its influence has been profound. The magazine gave valuable coverage to such artists as Wilco, Whiskeytown (and its leader, Ryan Adams) and Gillian Welch, while giving readers thoughtful (and deep) coverage of music. An average issue might contain a profile of Tift Merritt, reviews of the Sadies, Jim Lauderdale and Stella, as well as short takes on regional artists and essays on Muscle Shoals. It was a music magazine for people who take music seriously - but in a friendly, isn’t-this-interesting? way.

But no more, at least in print form. (It will continue as a Web site.) And its publishing demise, notes publishers Grant Alden, Peter Blackstock and Kyla Fairchild, says something about the struggles of the music industry (along with the decline of print, the splintering of audiences and the economy in general):

“… [B]ecause we’re a niche title we are dependent upon advertisers who have a specific reason to reach our audience. That is: record labels,” they write. “We, like many of our friends and competitors, are dependent upon advertising from the community we serve.

“That community is, as they say, in transition. In this evolving downloadable world, what a record label is and does is all up to question. What is irrefutable is that their advertising budgets are drastically reduced, for reasons we well understand. It seems clear at this point that whatever businesses evolve to replace (or transform) record labels will have much less need to advertise in print.”

So let’s take a moment to pause in tribute to 75 issues and 13 great years - and in hopes that the Web site can carry the name forward for many years to come.

Transition, indeed.

– From CNN.com Entertainment Producer Todd Leopold


Filed under: Uncategorized
February 19th, 2008
07:38 PM ET

Elevator rescues and Michael Jackson

From CNN Entertainment Producer Douglas Hyde:

In the world’s imagination, Los Angeles is primarily a pop culture town, the fount of countless movies and television shows. But Los Angeles has its high art institutions as well, from the Getty in West Los Angeles to San Marino's Huntington Library, home of Gainsborough’s “Blue Boy.”

One of L.A.’s finest, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has taken a huge leap forward with its just-opened, $60 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum. BCAM at LACMA they call it - oh, how they love their acronyms in the art world!

On Valentine’s Day I was invited to get an early look at the collection at its opening week reception. With nothing to do on the (allegedly) most romantic night of the year, I decided to say yes.

BCAM is a three-story building designed by the great architect Renzo Piano. Visitors ascend a giant red escalator outside the building to the top floor and then work their way down to the lower levels via stairs or a giant glass elevator. The night I attended, a couple people got stuck in the elevator, and BCAM visitors gathered around watching the rescue effort as if were an exhibit. I could practically see the description: “People trapped in elevator. Mixed media, 2008.”

I made my way through the collection, and although I’m far from being an expert, I was amazed at the impressive collection of modern art they had assembled. All the big postwar pop-art artists were represented: Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein, among others. Jeff Koons had some interesting work in the gallery as well, especially his “Balloon Dog” piece and a very fun and over-the-top ceramic statue of Michael Jackson with Bubbles the Chimp. On one of the lower floors there was a giant dining room table and chairs that forced you to look at things from a different perspective.

Another piece, though, really had me scratching my head and feeling like I had taken an absurd turn into Mike Myers’ old “Sprockets” skit on “Saturday Night Live”: Mike Kelly’s “Gym Interior,” which featured two women on a video monitor doing the chicken dance.

At the end of the night I’m in the parking garage and I get a call. It’s a buddy of mine on the line and I can’t quite hear him. “What was that?” I ask, “Am I with a broad? What is this, the 1940s?” “No!” the voice on the other line says, “Are you at the Broad?” Yes. At the Broad. Not with a “broad.” On Valentine‘s Day, it was just me, Michael Jackson, Bubbles the Chimp and the chicken dancers. But you know, that’s not a bad date - and there’s always next year.

– Douglas Hyde


Filed under: Uncategorized
February 6th, 2008
03:03 PM ET

85 years of Warner Bros.

From CNN Entertainment Producer Douglas Hyde in Los Angeles:

I work the evening shift in the CNN Entertainment unit, so it was a nice change of pace to be let out for good behavior as it were, and leave the cubicle for a few hours to attend a special reception in honor of Warner Bros.’ 85th anniversary. (Warner Bros. is, of course, a unit of Time Warner, as is CNN.)

From our bureau in Hollywood it was a quick drive “over the hill” to the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank. Though I’ve been covering entertainment for awhile, I’m not jaded when I get a rare visit to a big Hollywood studio. There’s just something about walking through the sound stages and seeing those carts whipping by that always gets my inner film buff going.

Warner’s Home Entertainment Division – the studio’s video arm - told the assembled press how the studio was going to celebrate the anniversary over the coming year. The centerpiece will be a three-part miniseries on the history of the studio, directed by documentarian and Time magazine film critic Richard Schickel, which will air this September on PBS as part of their “American Masters” program. Schickel says when he approached Clint Eastwood about narrating the documentary, Eastwood said he’d only do it if it weren’t a puff piece. Schickel agreed, and says the film isn’t afraid to criticize the studio or point out films that were complete duds.

The other big headline coming out of the evening for movie lovers is that this year the studio is releasing deluxe DVD editions of “Bonnie and Clyde,” the “Dirty Harry” films, “How the West Was Won” and “A Christmas Story.” And Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, will have a slew of his films released in special box sets.

During the press briefing, we were introduced to two very attractive blonde women who were executives for Best Buy and Amazon.com. I mention this only because their good looks did not escape the notice of legendary ladies’ man Warren Beatty, who was there to pay tribute to the Home Entertainment Division’s film restoration efforts. He joked that if the two women had been around in the late ‘60s they probably would have screen-tested for the part of Bonnie in “Bonnie and Clyde.” After his speech, he invited the ladies down for a photo and engaged in some harmless, good-natured flirting. After all these years, the man still has the touch. Something strangely inspiring about that.

After the press briefing we were ushered into the studio’s museum for the reception. It was a treasure trove of costumes and props. I especially enjoyed the "Departed" exhibit, which had the celebrated “Citizens Bank” envelope that was so key to the plot. Sinatra’s children Tina, Nancy and Frank Jr. were awkwardly paraded out for a photo op, then “Charlie’s Angels” director McG (on left, with Schickel), who’s helming the upcoming “Terminator” film, “Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins,” came out to say a few words about the studio’s legacy. To his credit, he was very candid about his own career and shortcomings, saying that while he’s enjoyed commercial success, he hasn’t achieved critical and artistic acclaim yet. But it’s something he’s aiming for.

Speaking of aiming for something, I took a page out of Warren Beatty’s book and chatted up one of those attractive blonde executives. Just a little bit of Hollywood schmoozing before returning to the cubicle …

– Douglas Hyde


Filed under: Uncategorized
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