The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Will Jack Nicholson show his face at another Lakers game?

May 9, 2011 |  2:10 pm

Jack_nicholson The look on Jack Nicholson's face says it all. After watching the Lakers go down in flames, losing four straight playoff games to the Dallas Mavericks -- and losing in an especially ugly fashion Sunday, with both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom getting kicked out in the fourth quarter for flagrant fouls -- even a devoted fan like Nicholson knows it's time for a reboot.

In Hollywood, rebooting a franchise is always fraught with peril, since it's a crapshoot deciding who should star in the new film, much less if fans will still care about the movie's hero and storyline. I mean, look how long it's taken Warner Bros. to try to figure out what to do with its "Man of Steel" Superman reboot. Zack Snyder has the job directing the project, but after the reception he got with "Suckerpunch," it's hardly an overwhelmingly popular creative choice.

Rebooting an NBA team is just as dicey, especially with a team like the Lakers, who are old and not especially athletic anymore. Rebuilding around Kobe Bryant, with all the miles he has on his legs, is like rebooting "Star Wars" but having to keep Harrison Ford in a starring role. It feels like a short-term fix. But I guess that's why they pay general managers like Mitch Kupchak the same kind of big bucks they pay Warner's Jeff Robinov, who's in the hot seat for the "Man of Steel" reboot.

As for Nicholson, Lakers Fan No. 1, it's going to be a long spring, having to watch the Mavericks or the young guns from Oklahoma City and Memphis fight it out for the Lakers' old spot as Western Division champs. It's going to be tough for Fox and TNT too. When the Lakers were in the finals, there were always plenty of celebrities in the court-side seats to cut away to during a dull game. But if Oklahoma City makes the finals, who's going to be there in the $1,000 seats? Maybe native sons like Garth Brooks and Vince Gill will show up, but otherwise, it's going to be a steep drop in celebrity wattage from Jack Nicholson to a bunch of wealthy oilmen.

-- Patrick Goldstein      

Photo: Jack Nicholson at the second game of the Lakers' playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at Staples Center. Credit: Mike Nelson / European Pressphoto Agency