It's amazing how defensive some people seem to get about Vincent Gallo. While I'm not surprised at the number of people who can't stand him out there, he's obviously gotten plenty of people to drink his Kool-Aid. He should join with The Polyphonic Spree, and together they could start a cult for the new millennium which would obviously have some pull. Anyway, some Gallo defenders seem upset about my review of his
blow-job new film The Brown Bunny, which was basically unanimously despised when it premiered at Cannes last year, but will be released in a shorter version at the end of the month. If you didn't read it before, here it is again: I really tried to be open about it. No, really.
Meanwhile, I also wrote about The Door in the Floor a couple days ago (revisit that post here). If you're picking a movie for the weekend and in a "selected city," I highly encourage you to pick this one rather than, I don't know, I, Robot. That's not really fair because I haven't seen the Will Smith-running-from-CGI extravaganza yet, and Alex Proyas has done some interesting work (Dark City kind of rocked), but Grambo seems to have hated it, so I'm having doubt. Don't forget, Anchorman is out there too, and while I was a bit disappointed, it's still funny and a good time. And another indie out there in New York and LA is the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner Maria Full of Grace, the story of a young woman who becomes a Columbian drug "mule." I haven't seen it yet but have heard great things. (UPDATED: My bad; I forgot to mention the doc Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, which also opens this weekend, and I've heard is absolutely fantastic. Check it out too!)
One thing Will Smith still manages to do is open a movie, and even though we've been beaten to death with the damn trailer, I, Robot should still have a pretty big weekend. My fearless forecast (which resembles a Magic 8-Ball) tells me that the Fresh Prince will attract about $45-Million this weekend, with Spider-Man 2 still holding strong with about $25-Million (which should bring it very close to $300-Million in just 19 days). Anchorman should also retain a good chunk of its opening and earn $17-Million, while I'm guessing King Arthur takes a big tumble, collecting about $7-Million which may be just enough to keep it in the top 5. The wild-card is the new Hilary Duff starrer A Cinderella Story. Even with Karen Cinecultist's announced boycott, I think the movie has a shot at taking the #3 slot away from Anchorman. The Lizzie McGuire Movie opened with over $17-Million, Duff is more popular now than then, and this movie definitely doesn't compete for audience with any of the other potential top-grossers. $20-Million to open. How's that?
Suddenly George Eads and Jorja Fox think they're in the cast of Friends. The two C.S.I. players don't seem to realize that they're show has much more in common with Law & Order, meaning that they're supporting actors -- not stars -- and basically expendable. Eads and Fox reportedly have both been fired for asking for a raise in the fifth year of their (standard) 7 year contract. Let's put this in perspective people, because I'm all for actors making their bucks. But here's a little lesson in TV acting contracts. When I worked at an agency about 8 years ago, any regular cast member on a major network hour long drama could plan on at least $15,000 per episode in the first year of a series. (And that is a very conservative number.) If that actor has been in other series or even other pilots that weren't picked-up, that number would have been potentially much higher, and this many years later, it probably is higher already. If a show runs a full season (usually 23 episodes), that would be about $345,000 for approximately 30 weeks work. Even losing 60% to taxes, agents and managers, they're bringing home $138,000, with nearly half the year left to look for other parts. And that's the bare minimum. Each season the show gets picked-up, the standard contract usually offers a 5% bump on the episode rate. So season 2 would be $15,750, season 3 would be $16,537.50, and so on. I would bet that neither Eads nor Fox started at that low a figure: $25,000 per episode or higher is much more likely, and I still could be vastly underestimating. CSI is making a shitload of money, and everyone involved deserves to be compensated, but you have a contract, and while you can try to renegotiate, show up for work. If you don't, and you're on a show like C.S.I., you're an idiot, and deserve to be fired … just like Eads and Fox. Don't get me wrong, the majority of actors don't get cast on series that become television phenomena and therefore they don't make this kind of money. But that's the point: when you do make it like this, take a lesson from George Clooney who could have renegotiated with ER repeatedly or even left the show, but after all his failed attempts at stardom, he decided not to, played out his contract and is doing just fine.
Who ever said LA doesn't have good theater? I sure am sorry I live in NYC when that means I'll likely have to miss Val Kilmer starring as Moses in a stage musical version of The Ten Commandments. Damn! Hopefully, this pending monster of the modern stage will come to Broadway, maybe even arriving around the same time as Masada -- assuming the troubled production makes it here -- because there's nothing like ancient Jewish/biblical musical drama onstage, you know?
And in the most important news of the day, American Idol will let old people compete this next season, as long as they're not over 28. Thankfully, this two year raising of the age limit is only on the older side of things. Crappy 16 year olds will still be allowed to embarras themselves on TV as well by singing songs about their broken hearts, lost loves and trying lives. Yay!
Have a great weekend, and see you at Siren!