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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Academy Awards That Were Not!

You don't have to be too astute to figure out that the Oscars have been in a free-fall for the last decade. Becoming a political show, having a problem getting someone, anyone, to host, all the noise about diversity and inclusion, a changing of the guard to a very woke and weak administration, and a steady decline in Hollywood's grip on filmed entertainment - have all blended into a toxic mixture for the Academy and Oscars.

Last week's Academy Awards Show was irrelevant, unentertaining, and unglamorous. The red carpet served as a metaphor for the blood-letting that we witnessed. It was filled with people we didn't know and movies we didn't watch. Only 9.9 million watched the event, a 60% decrease from last year's show which was at the previous low. The Oscars peaked in 1998 at viewership of 57 million.

After 93 years one would think that the Academy could get it right! The Awards show should be movie fan-focused. The "inclusion" should be Hollywood embracing and thanking not only themselves but the folks that go to the local cinema to be entertained, to live in fantasy for several hours, to view and adore their idols. Yet, the Oscars languish in a state of disconnect. One in which the winner of the Best Actor Award (Anthony Hopkins) wasn't present to accept - either in person or via video stream. 

After the obvious acknowledgment that the Awards were a debacle, the Academy blamed the pandemic for the lousy Show and poor viewership numbers. One would think it should be the opposite. With people being sequestered in their homes there was a huge captive audience for the Oscar show.  

Perhaps the Academy has finally got the message that they are on the wrong path. It has to get back to making the Awards show a gala, festive, and above all entertaining event. I'm not holding my breath.

The Academy Awards are passe' and have been in free-fall for at last 10+ years. The Oscars have no relevance to the average person nor to moviegoers - only 1.9 million in the 18-49 age group viewed this year's Show - which portends things to come.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Perfect Casting: The Weinstein Saga

 If you were casting for a biopic on the whole sorted Weinstein saga you couldn't get a better portrayer for the Weinstein role than Harvey himself.

Look at Harvey. If there were anyone that fit the role of a sexual predator it's this guy.

"I'm Losing Teeth. Four So Far!"

Harvey's extradition to LA continues to be delayed. On April 12th Weinstein's attorney requested postponement due to "his client's scheduled critical health procedures, to treat his failing vision and save his teeth." Norman Effman, Weinstein's lead attorney, told the judge, "he is almost totally blind and in need of surgery and shots. He's also has major dental issues. He's already lost four teeth at this point". Arguing that leaving New York, where he is serving a 23 year sentence for rape and sexual assault charges, would be an undo hardship on Harvey. 

Los Angeles filed sexual charges against Weinstein on January 6, 2020. He is accused of rape and sexual assault in a number of separate incidents. If convicted on all counts the penalty would be over 140 years.  

"We believe we have a very good defense on all of the California charges and believe it will result in an acquittal" said Effman.

Judge Kenneth Case said that even if he ordered extradition, Weinstein has the right of appeal. So, he granted the request to postpone until April 20 the filing of papers opposing the extradition.

In a separate request, filed on April 6th, Weinstein asked the New York Court of Appeals to throw-out his conviction and grant him a new trial, stating that the Judge in his first case made several errors that denied him an impartial jury. We await the Appeal Court's decision on whether to hear the appeal or not.

And so, the saga continues. 

Monday, April 05, 2021

Monsters Hit B.O. Big


$48.5 million gross for 'Godzilla vs. Kong" was a pandemic record for a 5 day opening. This represented about half of what would be a 'normal' debut gate but represented a clear indicatioon that the cinema will return. Globally, the film raked in $285 million.

This bodes well for summer releases such as: "F9" (the Fast & Furious sequel), "Top Gun - Maverick", "Crulla", to name several summer tentpoles, The summer admission's ramp-up is tailor-made for viewing in the theatrical way - as bigger is always better for movie viewing.

"It Wasn't Me...It Was The Judge"

 Last Monday, Harvey Weinstein filed an appeal of his New York State conviction on sexual assault and rape charges, arguing that the judge made numerous errors that "resulted in a rigged trial". 

Weinstein, 69, was convicted in February 2020 with two counts of 3rd degree rape and one count of 1st degree assault. He is serving a 23 years sentence with his earliest parole being 2039.

He is also awaiting extradition to Los Angeles to face an additional 11 counts that carry a potential sentence of 140 years. 

It should be noted that New York State Governor Andres Cuomo, also being investigated on sexual misconduct has retained Weinstein's legal council.