Saturday, May 17, 2014

From here on end, I rag nobody, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, will have his own action video game. It’s called “Call of Doody-Pants.”

Happy 30th Birthday to Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. If you want to give him a present, he is registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond a Billionaire.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are getting married in Florence. When she first heard they were getting married in Florence, an excited but confused Khloe said; “The mother from “The Brady Bunch” will marry you?”

Beyonce and Jay-Z have released a statement about the video of the Solange fight in the elevator. “At the end of the day families have problems and we’re no different.” No different if your mom and dad are Ike and Tina Turner.

The favorite in the Preakness is Derby winner, California Chrome, although I kind of like the three long shots: Jay-Z’s Beatdown, Sterling’s Bimbo and Alec’s Bike Ride.

Remember the Kentucky Derby where New England Patriots’ receiver, Wes Walker, was handing out 100’s from the 14K he won? Turns out they payout was a mistake. Walker was handing out money that wasn’t his. Does this mean he’s running for Congress?
Now Churchill Downs is asking Welker for the money back. If I were Welker I would say, “Sure, you can have it back. As soon as you pay me the ten million I mistakenly meant to bet on California Chrome.”
If I were Welker I would not pay Churchill Downs back. I mean, what possible problems could occur from not paying back a massive gambling enterprise?
Since you asked:  
Was taken by the comment by William Goldman that, in the movie business, nobody knows anything. It is so true.
William Goldman is the closest the movie business gets to a true intellectual, and he graduated from Oberlin with below-average grades. He got a Masters of Arts from Columbia because he didn’t have anything else to do and snuck in as a painter/artist, which he was not.
Goldman is a talented writer, clearly, very creative, funny and rich and wildly successful. 
This guy wrote “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”  “The Princess Bride” and “Marathon Man” not to mention screenplays for “Harper” and “All the Presidents Men” and yet there were eight years after all of these where Goldman could not get arrested as a writer in Hollywood.
Even after his “The Princess Bride” comeback, Goldman got into serious Hollywood “You’ll never work in this town again” hot-water when he wrote “Adventures in the Screen Trade” for exposing producers, directors and mostly actors and studio execs as the world-class egomaniac and insecure weasel douche bags they are. Namely producer Don Simpson, and actors Dustin Hoffman, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, Sly Stallone (He busted Stallone as only being 5.6)  and Val Kilmer. Goldman damned Robert Redford with feint praise, but that was because Goldman was so effusive of his praise for Paul Newman. Redford simply suffered by comparison.
Essentially of all the actors Goldman worked with, there were very few he had nice things to say about: In order of highest praise, it was Paul Newman first, Clint Eastwood and close second, Cliff Robertson and Robin Wright.
That’s it. 

The rest he dismissed as wildly insecure, un-educated and difficult tiny little egomaniacs. To say Goldman despised Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen would be putting it mildly. 
Goldman’s treatment at the hands of the producers of -and Hoffman - “All the Presidents Men” was nothing short of abusive, and he has since backed off on that by saying, in the end, it is only the quality of the movie that counts, not the treatment of the writer.
Goldman did not know what a screen play looked like until he was in his 30’s. He had to search Times Square bookstores to even find one. Except for publishing a novel “The Temple of Gold” he was a self-described failure as a writer. He would not have even been in the movie business if La Jolla native, Cliff Robertson, had not mistaken his drawn-out short story, “Flowers for Algeron” as a movie treatment. Then Robertson - whom Goldman had high praise for - fired Goldman and turned it into the Oscar winning movie “Charlie.”
Most of the biggest successes in Hollywood never even stepped foot in college. David Geffen was a rattlesnake of a hustler and had good taste. A lot of very famous music producers and promoters were simply failed musicians looking to get laid by hippy starlets in the late ‘60’s in Laurel Canyon.
There is a great scene in “Get Shorty” to name drop, written by my Aunt’s good friend, Elmore Leonard, which exposes the movie business. Delroy Lindo’s character tells John Travolta’s character that, to write a screen play, they just have to put their story down on paper and put a few of the directions and periods and commas in the right places, and he isn’t sure they even care that much about that.
At that point, Travolta says;
“So why do I need you?”
The motto of Hollywood could be:
“So why do I need you?”
Look at an actor like Seth Rogan. He didn’t step foot in a college either, but he had written “Super Bad” when he was 18. His career took off like a meteor with Judd Apatow tapping him for “40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”. And he deserves it. He is a funny and likeable and seemingly smart guy.
But a few more “Green Hornets” and “The Guilt Trip” and “This is the End” and Seth is out of the actor business except for gruff voice work. Now with “Neighbors,” he is back on top.
One of the top agents in Hollywood’s credo is “I don’t sign talent, I sign heat.” Heat is a hard thing to keep in Hollywood. You don’t need vast talent, you don’t need good looks, you certainly don’t need an education, you just have to want to have “heat” more than everyone else. (See: Glenn Frey)
The Eagles were at the top of one of the most cutthroat aspects of the entertainment world, the music business, when their founder, guitarist/singer Bernie Leadon, quit.  When the Eagles were formed, Bernie had the most “heat” as the recent leader of The Flying Burrito Brothers. He did the negotiating with David Geffen to sign the Eagles to the Asylum record deal.
Cut to: four hit albums later, soon after pouring a beer over the head of a coked-up Glenn Frey, Leadon stood up during an all-night recording session for “Hotel California,” stretched, yawned and announced he was going surfing. And never came back.
Thanks to the incredible hustling of their “little ball of hate” manager, the 5.3. Irving Azoff, (The song “Short People” was by Randy Newman written about Azoff. Jimmy Fallon’s character in “Almost Famous” was based on him. “With respect.” Tom Cruise’s hilarious movie producer in “Tropic Thunder” was based on him) and their-just-as-nasty producer, David Geffen, they landed Joe Walsh and made “Hotel California.” (A lot of Leadon is still reflected in that album)
But then the coke, the egos and the pressure got so bad, their other-worldly talented bass player, Randy Meisner quits. In another amazing coup, they get the brilliant high- singer and Poco bass player, Timothy B. Schmidt to replace him. (To put the financial discrepancy of the music business in perspective, before he joined the Eagles, Timothy B. Schmidt was making $300 a week with Poco. This according to Glenn Frey) But now the leaks on the yacht Eagles are starting to show and what did they produce? “The Long Run.”
Abandon ship.
There aren’t enough excuses for cocaine abuse and lack of rapid eye movement to explain some of the songs on “The Long Run.” “Teenage Jail” “Disco Strangler” and especially “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks”? Please.

Nobody knows anything.
Comparing that over-produced pile of crap, “The Long Run” to the quality of the songs on the albums “Hotel California” and “Desperado” is embarrassing considering most of the Eagles talent was still on board. (Although, obviously, even Frey and Henley underestimated the contributions of the real Eagles sound by Meisner and Leadon)
Movies are a lot like albums. Nobody cares how they get made or how awful the behavior of the people involved, as long as they come out well.
And both depend, most of all, on the writing.
Most people have never heard of songwriters like Jack Tempchin or Steve Young. Many have not heard of J.D. Souther. Most have heard of Bob Seger. But without al of them and Linda Ronstadt, there is no Eagles. Period. Nobody, not even Frey, can dispute that.
In “The History of the Eagles” documentary, Joe Walsh says looking at an album like “Hotel California” makes it seem so planned out and linear. And it is anything but that. Five talented guys with huge egos all are writing songs and fighting for them to be on the album.
Bands have broken up over if a song should be on an album, what key the song should be in, who sings lead, back up, who does the guitar solo? Each instrument is recorded separately, each vocal is recorded separately, and then they have to mash all ten recordings, or tracks, together. It’s insanely tedious. Movies are ten times worse. They are combining all the many hours of film from each day of shooting.
When I come back from surfing, I have one hour of raw GoPro footage. After an hour or two of editing and mixing some music, it boils down to about a minute of footage. Imagine a GoPro/iMovie editing session that lasts a month?
It doesn’t matter how talented an actor, comedian or musician is at improvising, if they aren’t working off something that is well-written, either song or script, they don’t stand a chance. Go ahead. Name a movie or album that was entirely improvised. There aren’t any. Some director said if real life was interesting, you could make a movie out of the video in a 7-Eleven security camera.
As I have said before, I would not walk across the street to watch a musician as talented as Jack White or Eric Clapton making up a song on the spot.
Because it would suck.
Used to take my dates to the Blue Note jazz club which because it was next door to my Manhattan apartment in the Village on West Third. The women I took there all seemed to love the sound of all-improvised jazz. Me? It was good for the first ten minutes, then it just sounded like the musical equivalent of jerking off.
Outside of modern dance or poetry, you will not find a snottier and effete group than die-hard modern jazz –improv-lovers. Once my buddies and I stumbled into Bradley’s on Fifth Ave. in the Village which was packed for a big-time three- piece jazz group. We made the audacious faux pas of actually talking and laughing in a bar. To this day I will not forget the daggers these grey-bearded knobs threw us with their eyes.

Screw those snotty humps. They know nothing. Nobody knows anything.