FROM Patrick Goldstein
Damaged Children, Clueless Adults and Hollywood Ratings Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is releasing the documentary Bully without a rating after Hollywood's Motion Picture Association of America said it would get an "R" rating because the "F---word" is used repeatedly. Weinstein says that would prevent the target audience, teen-age kids, from seeing it and learning important lessons. Bullying is now recognized as the source of long-term emotional damage, aggravated by adults who don't get it. Can a documentary make a difference? Is Weinstein seeking publicity? Should the MPAA update its criteria in the age of the Internet and cable TV? Note: Both Harvey Weinstein and the MPAA have declined our invitation to participate in our discussion.
Hollywood Meets the Internet and Economic Reality Hollywood is waking up to technology and economics. Studios are becoming revolving doors for executives, and the standards for "green-lighting" new projects aren't what they used to be.
Hollywood Meets the Internet and Economic Reality With so much free content on-line, the business model for movies just doesn't work any more. Revenues from DVD's are declining fast, as is backing from wealthy "angels" with big money to spend. And this was a summer of box-office flops. Studios are becoming revolving doors for executives, and are basing productions on comic books, graphic novels, webisodes and video games that can be serialized and "branded" for easy marketing. "Specialty" projects aimed at adults are fewer and farther between. We see how the wide world of entertainment is changing.
Talks Between Writers and Studios Break Down. Why? What’s Next? Thousands of people are going to be out of work for a long time if the producers and writers can’t reach an agreement and at the moment, they’re farther apart than ever. On Friday , the film and TV producers told the writers to put up or shut up. The writers accused them of bad faith. The producers came back with the charge that the writers were “ideological.” In any case, they’re not talking.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.