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Putting Hollywood On The Couch
By Ed Driscoll · September 17, 2007 09:19 PM · Hollywood, Interrupted

Nikke Finke writes, "let me review what Hollywood learned during its summer vacation"; not that they'll remember any of it. Her last observation--"Donít expect the international box office to save Hollywood summers forever" is especially crucial, as just underneath heartland hits like 300 and Transformers, Hollywood turns out movie after movie whose agitprop tone and overt politicization is designed far more to appeal to The Biggest Blue State Of Them All than middle America.

That's a longtime practice that's in sharp contrast to Tinseltown in the last decade of the Hays Era, when its writers had to bury socialist themes deep into a movie's subtext to sell it to a largely domestic, not to mention conservative, audience. Using a subtle touch instead of a sledgehammer to tell its stories, these were often some of Hollywood's best films before the lights went out, as Stanley Kubrick once described Hollywood at the end of the 1960s.

One observation by Finke seems particularly cruel though; she dubs Nicole Kidman "the female equivalent of Sean Penn". Other than Dead Calm, her Batman movie and Eyes Wide Shut, I've managed to avoid virtually her entire oeuvre. But she seems far more appealing to spend two hours at the movies than Sean "Spicoli" Penn, based on visual aesthetics alone. And besides, she actually holds herself out as an actor, unlike a certain wannabe-pundit who slums it in front of a camera from time to time when he wants to explore multimedia.

In small-screen Hollywood news, Glenn Reynolds notes, "Looking at this roundup of primetime Emmy winners, what strikes me is how few of these shows I've ever watched -- and the even smaller number that I've actually liked", which just like the Grammys and the Oscars, helps to explain this.

But as I've written before, there's a simple solution to the networks' worries about low award show ratings:

At some point in the future, just as C-SPAN covers the bulk of national political conventions, watch for the Oscars to move up the dial, out of the over-the-air networks and into the realm of cable. Maybe E! or HBO could host them. Or Current TV.
Maybe giving its co-founder so many awards lately is merely an effort to help warm him to the idea.

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