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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: "Chuck." This is one of the best shows on teevee and, quite frankly, we don't know how quality shows Chuck and 30 Rock and Top Chef get millions fewer viewers than steaming shitpiles like CSI and Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. It truly boggles the imagination the degree to which the most vapid shows get such astonishing ratings. For whatever reason -- possibly Ben "The Boy King" Silverman's recent slate of bad publicity -- Chuck, a fan favorite that was on the chopping block, has been renewed. As a mid-season replacement after the 2010 Olympics, but still. Whether or not Silverman made the decision to gain the goodwill of the geeks, all is good in the world.

It is not inconceivable that this renewal and that of Fox's "Dollhouse" suggests that pressure from fans online -- which has had minimal effect on heartless TV execs in the past -- may be on the rise.

Out: Maureen Dowd. "Live by the sword .." Those of us who operate in part or in whole in the realm of snark are succesptible, always, to scrutiny. Par for the course, no? It follows that casting one's laser-like gaze upon the powerful for public consumption leads, logically, the less powerful to do the same. Maureen Dowd, whether she wants to admit it or not, is powerful. And while few actually believe that La Dowd is done, it is a sting that she is suffering to her reputation, these plagerism charges. From Slate's Jack Shaeffer:

"That New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd plagiarized Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo cannot be denied.

"As a reader/blogger on Talking Points Memo's community site discovered yesterday (May 17), Dowd's May 17 column pinched about 40 words from one of Marshall's online posts without attribution.* (Dowd's column has since been updated and corrected.)

"In correspondence with the Huffington Post and Politico after the lifted passage was pointed out, Dowd suggested she had been talking and e-mailing with a friend about the topic of her column, mistook Marshall's passage for her friend's work, and used it in her column. It's unclear whether Marshall's work ended up in Dowd's column because she took near-perfect notes of the conversation with the unnamed friend or because she cut and pasted from the friend's e-mail.

Bad, Dowd, bad—deserving of hard time in a pillory"

More here.

(image via Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE)

In: Lars Von Trier. This blogger is absolutely loving all the controversy that Lars Von Trier's new film, The AntiChrist (view trailer here), which has made its debut at Cannes, is making. von Trier has told IndieWIRE that he is "the best filmmaker in the world." AntiChrist may or may not be a meditation on the end of Empire and the decline of the decadent West. Or something. Danish director Lars von Trier’s new film Antichrist "has left audiences at Cannes shaken, stirred—and sharply divided," writes Jill Lawless in the Associated Press. Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert tells us:

"Lars von Trier's new film will not leave me alone. A day after many members of the audience recoiled at its first Cannes showing, 'Antichrist' is brewing a scandal here; I am reminded of the tumult following the 1976 premiere of Oshima's "In the Realm of the Senses" and its castration scene. I said I was looking forward to von Trier's overnight reviews, and I haven't been disappointed. Those who thought it was good thought it was very very good ("Something completely bizarre, massively uncommercial and strangely perfect"--Damon Wise, Empire) and those who thought it was bad found it horrid ("Lars von Trier cuts a big fat art-film fart with "Antichrist"--Todd McCarthy, Variety).

"I rarely find a serious film by a major director to be this disturbing. Its images are a fork in the eye. Its cruelty is unrelenting. Its despair is profound. Von Trier has a way of affecting his viewers like that. After his 'Breaking the Waves' premiered at Cannes in 1996, Georgia Brown of the Village Voice fled to the rest room in emotional turmoil and Janet Maslin of the New York Times followed to comfort her. After this one, Richard and Mary Corliss blogged at that 'Antichrist' presented the spectacle of a director going mad."

Anyone who can cause such boiling turmoil in the relatively staid world of film nowadays -- sci-fi, comic book movies, bromantic comedies -- deserves accolades. The downside is, of course, that we have to wait until the film comes stateside.

Out: Keifer Sutherland. Why do so many people enable Keifer Sutherland? Is it because he is such an "earner"? If someone is a serious asshole -- and Keifer Sutherland on alcohol qualifies, by all accounts, as an asshole (or at the very least "a heartbreaking drunk" -- then he needs some sort of an intervention. But the entertainment industry is an alternate, amoral, lawless cosmos. If you earn money for a studio or a record label or a network, it doesn't matter what you do. Little boys, little girls, alcohol abuse, drug addiction -- no fucking problem: Just keep fattening the quarterly reports. Not to compare Michael Jackson to The Keif, but there are similarities with regards to the enablement going on by powerful people who ought to know better. the latest act of enablement by the teevee industry (which should be scheduling an intervention, not a barrage of raffish chuckles), from The Press Association:

"Kiefer Sutherland has apparently joked about his assault charge.

"The 24 star was presenting a party for US TV network Fox when he said to an audience of advertising executives: 'I will be looking for you at the bar.'

"The actor has been charged with third-degree assault for head-butting a fashion designer while partying with Brooke Shields at a New York nightclub earlier this month.

"At the Fox bash, Kiefer thanked advertisers for all their support through the show's run, through strong and not-so-strong periods creatively.

"He told them he'd be at Fox's party following the presentation, and was greeted with loud laughter when he mentioned seeing them in the bar."

Ad men, yes men -- you do your thing, you .. do your thing (Averted Gaze).

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