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March 2006 Archive

Oscar's Jewish Fallout

Here’s the new annual Purim cover spoof by the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. It sends up this town’s Jew/Oscars/Hollywood ties, especially Jewish discomfort with the moral equivalence in Steven Spielberg’s Munich. “Spielberg to Jews Post-Munich: “I wish I could quit you.” And “Spielberg to Direct “Balanced” Jaws Sequel: Amity Beach”, showing Bruce the Shark about to lay a big wet kiss on Steven. (You know why the shark is called Bruce, of course: after… Read

Larry King Live?

Note to Jon Klein, honcho at CNN: You might want to get a succession plan together sooner than later. Around Beverly Hills, they’re noticing that 72-year-old resident Larry King seems increasingly frail physically. (I could go into detail, but I consider it unseemly.) Also, back around Thanksgiving, guest Jerry Seinfeld appeared less than amused at having to repeat stuff to King again and again because it wasn’t registering with the talk show host. Plugging the sitcom’s… Read

NBC's Wright: Cheeky & Thinskinned

Two Bob Wright takes……. It’s a textbook case of chutzpah, though in Bob Wright’s world, it’s known as cheekiness. Doesn’t matter, because it was still really, really bad behavior. Harken back to that stunning announcement in late January: two flailing networks (WB and UPN) will now become one flailing network (the poorly named CW). So who picks up the phone right away, and calls WB chief Garth Ancier, and acts as if there’s no water under the bridge between them? And… Read

Dreamworks De-Animation

Also on the subject of animation, DreamWorks Animation (SKG’s IPO company) told Wall Street analysts today it won’t see significant earnings in the first half of 2006. That’s because its newly crowned Oscar-winner Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit under-performed. You see, DreamWorks can’t score any revenue from the film until its distribution costs are paid. As usual, those feeble-minded financial analysts state the obvious: “the films they make cost too… Read

Pixar's Rusty Cars?

A few minutes ago, I saw the “world premiere” of the trailer for Disney/Pixar’s Cars (June 9). Owen Wilson sounded over the top. Paul Newman was appropriately world weary, but then he elevates any material. Talking cars taking Route 66 may be the end-all-and-be-all for little and big boys, and NASCAR junkies. But the trailer seems too retro. I don’t think this is gonna be Pixar-Disney’s most praised or most profitable.  Read

Lawyering Up Pellicano's Victims

I’ve learned that two high profile Westside Los Angeles litigators, Neville Johnson (of the firm Johnson and Rishwain) and Brian Panish (of Panish Shea & Boyle) are meeting with many victims of the Pellicano wiretapping scandal to jointly represent them. Remember last month’s LA Times story speculating how costly these cases could be if deep pocketed cities like Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, or fancy-shmancy law firms, or super-rich Pellicano clients were found liable… Read

Shorties: Waxman, Ovitz

Did you score? The newly released paperback version of New York Times Hollywood correspondent Sharon Waxman’s book Rebels on the Backlot was included in every Independent Spirit Awards goodie bag from Oscar weekend. That’s 1,900 copies looking at six maverick (my better word: overrated) directors and how they conquered (my better word: fooled) the Hollywood studio system: Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Spike… Read

That Agency Urge to Merge (Updated)

When each agency urge-to-merge rumor surfaces, it’s the baby agents/ambitious assistants who worry. And why not? After all, they realize that, if it becomes a reality, it’ll take longer for them to rise in the new agency’s food chain. And these windup-toy-types aren’t a patient bunch. So the young’uns are fretting over the latest United Talent-Endeavor rumblings. I’m told Endeavor partner Richard Weitz is actually admitting to them, when they ask about it, that, “yes… Read

My Sopranos Moment: Kissed by “Jr” Gotti

Given the return to HBO this Sunday of Tony, Carmela, the kids, and everyone not already murdered, here’s my own Sopranos moment: the time in 1994 when I was on assignment for Vanity Fair to write a profile of the son also rises: John A. “Junior” Gotti,  who's now on trial for racketeering in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. I found myself with a cup of coffee, a kiss and a few clues from the new reputed head of the Gambino family. (This is an unpublished excerpt.) I can… Read