The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Patrick Goldstein

Patrick Goldstein writes about entertainment and pop culture for the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. His column, The Big Picture, offers insight and perspective on the always mysterious inner workings of the movie industry.

He has written for a host of newspapers and magazines, including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vogue, Premiere, the New York Sunday Magazine and the Washington Post. Over the years he has road tested an electric car with Tom Cruise, beaten Shaquille O'Neal in a free-throw shooting contest and actually seen Ice Cube smile.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, who wishes he would turn off the computer sometimes, and his son, who wishes his dad could teach him how to throw a good curveball.

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Hi Patrick. I work for a company who has developed a technology that you really need to take a look at. Our system is simply the most secured system for distributing digital content. When we hit the streets with our technology, you can pretty much say goodbye to the likes of Netflix, Redbox, even Blockbuster. Our system is designed for mobile storage devices, and the content cannot be hacked, copied, shared, emailed, forwarded, or even accidentally deleted.

If you would like to find out more, please send me an email at . We may very well be on the verge of changing how entertainment content will be distributed from here on out.

Why did you ignore Dominican actor Juan Fernandez, the film's other supporting lead, who's been working in Hollywood for thirty years, whose charismatic performance grounds this wonderful film? Perhaps you think it's more interesting for your readers if you mention people on a TV series like 'Weeds' rather than an actor who blazed the trail for other Dominican actors to even be on a TV series in the first place. Huge missed opportunity to profile (even mention) this fantastic, enigmatic actor.

Is Ken Burns really a socialist? OMFG! Thanks for the info. Now I'll never watch any of his Marxist propaganda films again!

Patrick - There was a movie premiere on Monday Night for a film called WHO STOLE THE ELECTRIC CAR at the Releigh Studio, what is the film all about ?

really sad you don't understand the nature of predatory
sick child molestors. polansky deserves to be punished
for illegal, immoral and disgusting behavior. You serve
no purpose to mankind to accept his acts as normal. bad
reporting on your part

In the early days of my fascination with film, Richard Schickel was a prominent and helpful light, one of the first names I recall who seemed to have respect in the circles of film history and study that I aspired to join. I honor his efforts in making movies better understood and promoting interest in their history. But those days have passed. I've been an actor and film historian of sorts myself for decades now. I spend time every day of my life in discussion of movies past and present with people who are extremely knowledgeable, highly critical, and in many cases erudite in the extreme. I am not talking about water cooler discussions with people from all walks of life who have passing opinions about "Casablanca" or "The Matrix." I refer to people who spend similar amounts of time engaged in learning about, talking about, and evaluating films and filmmakers, people who can tell a Kurosawa from an Ichikawa by the lighting, who can go on at length about *why* Ford was better than Hawks or vice versa, and *why* the same piece of Alfred Newman music from "Young Mr. Lincoln" was reused in "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." And in *these* circles I would have to say that Richard Schickel has become a laughingstock, what "Little Big Man" described as a "reverse barometer," someone whose opinions are reliable only in leading one away from where one wants to be. However, the fact that no one I know who takes film seriously has much respect left for Schickel's opinions does not lessen the intensity with which we feel bewildered and often angered with how he has become some sort of éminence grise in the public eye, the wise and irrefutable voice of "film history" as represented in TV specials and DVD commentaries. Publications such as the Times and organizations such as the AFI and many other public dispensers of information or perceived wisdom about film history often turn to "experts" such as Schickel who have managed the leap from reviewing movies to a hallowed place where they are the authority of first resort whenever a book on film needs reviewing or a talking head is needed on CNN after a film legend has died. I know hundreds of people who know more, understand more, and are able to discourse more usefully on film than Richard Schickel ever could, yet I daresay he is asked to review more books on film than any other reviewer in America. This latest diatribe is perhaps the most flagrant example of his unsuitability for the unelected post he has been raised to. I hope at some point the brand known as "Richard Schickel" stops being pasted onto every article relating to film and that actual, as opposed to presumed, experts be given a chance. I bear Mr. Schickel no malice and am grateful for his early contributions to my knowledge of film. But enough is enough. His slander of Robert Altman ices a cake that is far too stale.

Here's who I would vote for if I could, and so I recommend you'd vote for them:

1. The Stooges - After Ron Asheton died earlier this year, I listened to the first three albums several times throughout the year. Their material still has it, and seems to have gained somewhat of a mainstream sound, if I ever thought I'd describe the Stooges as such. That must have to do with so many acts citing the Stooges as an influence over the decades. Besides, they've been nominated 8 times and have been eligible forever, and before Ron Asheton died, they were in the midst of touring actually enjoying adoring sold out crowds, can you believe it? They're worthy. They have Iggy. Induct them already.

2. Donna Summer - the Queen of Disco was not only the muse of Giorgio Moroder, but her big, talented voice continued having hits after disco and after Moroder ("She Works Hard For The Money" with Michael Omartian, "Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)" and "State Of Independence" for Quincy Jones and "This Time I Know It's For Real" for Stock/Aitken/Waterman). "I Feel Love" is often credited for its influence on what would become electronica, and with all those huge disco hits ("Bad Girls," "Hot Stuff", "Love To Love You Baby") Moroder never did better apart from her as he did with her.

3. Laura Nyro - We agree here. Way too many singer-songwriters, let alone industry people, cite Nyro as an influence, and look how many acts covered her songs? The list is endless. Since the R&RHoF inducted Leonard Cohen, how can they not induct Laura Nyro?

4. Genesis - It's surprising how prog, of all things, has had a resurgence among new acts these last ten years, with acts like the Mars Volta, the New Pornographers, Umphrey's McGee, the Decemberists and MUSE displaying and often citing some if not all the early acts. When Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam describes their song "Of The Earth" as being a cross between Peter Gabriel's Genesis and Sleater-Kinney, it's time to take prog seriously ( As for the hit-making Genesis of the 80s, say what you will, but "That's All" remains a great song.

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Combining funk into an alternative style and influencing many bands that came after them, they deserve to be inducted.

It would be great if Darlene Love was inducted this year, but not as a solo performer, but as a "sideman" with the other Blossoms, because everything she did she did with Fanita James and either Gloria Jones (all those hits recordings under various pseudonyms) or Jean King (all those Shindig! episodes). The R&RHoF will have to rename the "sideman" category if they do - maybe "contributors"? The Blossoms were among the best if not the best background vocalists anyone could ask for, so it was no wonder Phil Spector used them so much.

Thanks for your time,
Charles Crossley, Jr.

Hello, I noticed the friendly article you wrote about these big fellers (i.e. Paramount) starting to give independent films a chance...give PEACE a chance. Where funds run low, creativity reigns high, and its finally time to see this taken note of. I play the lead "Max Neptune" in an upcoming low-budget retro sci-fi adventure called "Max Neptune and the Menacing Squid," an homage to the ol' "Commando Cody" and "Flash Gordon" serials. A group of empassioned actors/directors/CGI artists/makeup effects artists got together in 2005 with a green screen and a camera and filmed this epic on the weekends over the course of two years. The last two and a half years have been spent creating/rendering the computer visual effects in-between day jobs. Two men and a renderfarm of six computers are making this happen...John Garside and Colin Fleming.
We are entering it into the San Diego Comic-con film festival this year, and the due date is March 15th. They are working like madmen (how many people did it take to CGI Yoda's ears?) and shortly after March 15th, we will have the official premiere somewhere. If you woud like to read about this phenomenal movie and the history of its morphosis on:
Our trailer is available here:
and our facebook is cookin' over here:

Its pretty neat, even an episode of "My Name is Earl" mentioned our film in the episode where Seth Green makes a sci-fi film about a man named Max who saves the city from a giant robot squid.
Thank you so much for posting your article with this new information.
It is such an encouraging re-enforcement to read about low-budget projects like ours getting noticed and helped out by the big guys.
We have really been picking up steam, and some might even call us the "little rocket that could."
I will send you a copy once it is finished.
Take care,
Curt Clendenin
aka Max Neptune
aka Orphan #4
(in "The Blues Brothers")

i've been trying to post the below as a comment to your conservatives in Hollywood piece and it won't work -- i'm told that the comment doesn't belong to the blog. what?

anyways, here goes:

I's hard out there for a simp

Given the level of "Hollywood" personalities featured in this piece, one can understand why there's so little interest.

Being a conservative has had an impact on Janine Turner's career, she says? And I assume she said it with a straight face. I think complete lack of acting talent and a one dimensional annoyance onscreen/ontube might have more to do with it. Heck, doing the right wing thing might get her more attention than her acting ever would.

And while there's whining and gnashing it seems regularly forgotten that the philosophical "heavyweight" for the festering right is that proud thespian and all-around chimp lover Ronald Reagan.

Those qualities would be rich fodder for the RushPalinFoxBeckPavlov machine if he were only acting today.

"Hate Israel" club. I guess objectivity is far, far out the window. How about this; the artists are a "hold Israel responsible for its actions" club. That would be a far more accurate statement. Keep fanning the flames of hatred from your pedestal.

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