Support The Bulwark and subscribe today.
  Join Now

Richard Rushfield’s Hollywood Field Guide

February 24, 2024
Notes
Transcript
On this week’s episode, we have the original Bulwark Goes to Hollywood guest, Richard Rushfield of The Ankler, returning to discuss his fabulous Hollywood Field Guide. How do you assuage actors, reassure writers, and make your way through the rest of Hollywood? Richard will guide you. Plus, we discuss the state of the box office, how Oscar season is shaping up, and more! If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to share it with a friend!
This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:06

    Welcome back to the Board goes to Hollywood. My name bunch. I’m culture editor at the Bulwark I’m very pleased to be rejoined again by the the few the first guest ever on the show, one of my favorites, the he runs the Anchler. He writes, all sorts of great Secret Podcast. There’s the whole the whole Anchler Empire over there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:26

    We can talk about that in a how you guys are growing and expanding. So, but Richard Rushfield, thanks for being back on the show. I really appreciate it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:34

    Great to be back and great to for for another week, I can say I’m the first and last guest, on your podcast. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:42

    Knock on what? Maybe this will be this will be the end of This will be the end of it all. Alright. So we’re we’re going we got a lot of things to talk about here. But the first thing I wanna do, discuss with you is the series that you are working on right now that is it’s coming out this week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:56

    The field guide to all the Hollywood types, first first three entries actors, writers, and agents, explain to the people what these are and and what you are trying to do with them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:09

    So I’m I’m taking a look. I’m going, day by day in the, first installment of a five part series. Looking at the different professions in in Hollywood. And I I was just struck by by how much How much they’ve changed and the job the job has changed and, what the being an act is just a totally different world than it was even twenty years ago. And and certainly being a writer, end of the end of packaging, moving into TV, and they’ve been through a strike and all that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:01:44

    But the types remain almost exactly the same and kind of the the the basic fundamental fights are, I mean, you You the the the fight set that the suitors have with actors, you could take, Louis B Mayer’s fights with Greta Garbo, and and almost be word for word, the same, battles that they’re having today. So, it is very interesting how how all the details change and all the and and everything gets more complicated and, you need an MBA to understand it, but, it all that it’s all just the same neurotic people, thrown together trying to, trying to make a movie here or there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:29

    Alright. So we got we got actors, writers Ron DeSantis to start. What are what are the last two here?
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:34

    Coming up executives and then reporters. I’m going to I’m gonna give give some tips for dealing with us.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:42

    We’re we’re the worst. That alright. So let’s let’s talk, let’s talk, actors. What what do what do folks need to know about actors? Because I I, you know, we we talk about how things have changed and how they’ve stayed the same, but it really does feel like an actor has so many different avenues of responsibility.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:58

    It’s not just being in the movie and carrying, the, being on the poster and carrying the title and all that, it’s, you know, they got they have to be brand ambassadors. They have to they have to have their own vodka. Line, they’ve gotta run an Instagram page, and, you know, there’s so many different ways to connect with people now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:18

    Yeah. And it’s very hard to just say, well, I’m just gonna I’m just gonna show up and remember my lines and and do the work and and and that’ll be that. You’ve you’ve really got to have an empire, and you’re supporting, in the in the course of that, an empire worth of people, and you have all sorts of cousins and god knows what on your payroll, advising you, through all these things. So you you you kind of need to have an empire to support the infrastructure of an actor, but it it’s it’s it’s still it’s just writing this, and talking to people about about the lives of actors One is really struck by, you have you have people you have these people. The the way one producer put it to me, actors are people who spend their lives pretending to be someone else.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:08

    So presumably, they don’t like who they are to start with if they want to be someone else all day long. So you have you have these these very sort of famously damaged people but now there is so much pressure on them and so much riding on their shoulders. It’s and and so many things that they’re expected to do. And and the extent to which in a in a movie, everybody’s got a lot riding on it. The director has a lot riding the writer has a lot writing on it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:38

    The grips have a lot writing writing on it. Everyone wants it to be a success, but it’s the actor’s face that’s gonna fail. If this movie fails. It’s the actor that that that people will mock. And and on the set when the actor flubs their lines five times in a row, It’s the actor that there there’s a hundred people who standing right there who are pissed off that this idiot can’t can’t hit their marks.
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:03

    Right? And it’s just tremendous amount of pressure on very, damaged people. So a fraught situation is, what I made of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:13

    So what are what are some of the tips that, your your sources have for dealing with writers? How do you keep or for with actors? How do you how do you keep the actors to, you know, from from melting down, kind of a swaging that that ego. How do you how do you make them feel like they’re being taken seriously?
  • Speaker 2
    0:05:30

    Well, first of all, by, by by acting like you’re taking him seriously, which nobody ever does. Everybody just wants them to, you know, give give us a big smile and and, and say your line and and don’t shoot off your mouth too much beyond that. So, You know, they are actors. They they they know that they’re not taking syrup, and they they also like to have an audience, and they like to be heard. It’s, I think I think one person put it like the the the the you can get along fine with them.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:01

    You can do it. Just remember everything is about that. And don’t ever try to make it about anything. Don’t ever try to make a conversation about any subject other than them or you will. In counter problems.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:13

    So you can have lovely conversations about them. That’s that’s that’s been my experience, just, as long as you keep that the topic. But but beyond that, giving, you know, explaining to them What’s expected hearing hearing their ideas taking them seriously, reassuring them that they are appreciated loved and not just treating them like they are, good looking cattle to be, to be pushed around, which is Which is really, you know, it’s the the people that that run Hollywood are not known for their sort of finesse and niceness. Currently, and and and you often just feel like they they got into this, Not not just that so that they could meet really attractive people, but so that they could be really mean to a really attractive people then. There’s a lot of grudges that they’re working out on the set and dealing with actors.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:15

    And, that doesn’t lead you to good places, shockingly.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:20

    Alright. Well, you you also mentioned in your, in your your newsletter on the writers, the field guide to writers, that it it feels sometimes like the the, money guys have assembled the writers in Hollywood just to tell them that they’re really not quite as smart as they think are. Come on. We know we we know you guys think you’re the smartest guys in the room, but that’s not the case.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:43

    Yeah. That Sarah Longwell standing, tension and feud in Hollywood dating back to the very earliest days when, when the the studio heads and the founders of Hollywood would hire the William Faulkner’s and f Scott fitzgerald, the the most celebrated authors and say, and and and put them in a room and say, okay, you’re gonna be the guy that writes the stage direction on the on this film or or give us give us give us six lines of dialogue before lunch. It should, and have them having having them crank crank out words in as close to a factory setting, I think, You know, I think I I think modern, content farms sorta, sort of, model themselves after after these, the the great studio screenwriting, productions there. And it just and so you had these people, but of course, they were being paid more than You’d get paid as a writer anywhere else in the culture. So they, you know, and you were in a very glamorous industry, so they all came and took it, and then sat there resenting and stewing as as, as as the, studio heads demonstrated on a daily basis how insignificant int they were and how little their vision mat mattered even on the thing that they were writing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:03

    Yeah. So you right before we did the show. You had mentioned that, a writer had actually complained about your, your field guide. I without naming we we won’t name any names here. We’ll protect the innocent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:09:14

    But I I am curious what the what the what the complaint was because I I went back and I reread it, you know, and I was like, that this all this all seems pretty pretty gentle. For the most part.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:24

    You know, the writers are, are are very sensitive people. Those of us, who’ve covered a strike out here. Noted that, they were not particularly open to criticism or suggestions that, that that that their position could ever be improved or they they didn’t they didn’t take notes on on on their place in the, in the industry and the way they handled things very well. And, I I got I I’ve I’ve they’ve been corresponding for the last day or so with a writer who who was implying that, my my gentle ribbing of of writers and their insecurities and neurosis, which by by the way, you may notice from my writing that I am in fact a writer myself. But, but that it would that it was suggesting that it bordered on a hate crime and that, sort of using the using the the language people talk about the the the trans world, and those battles that that this could lead to violence, and this could lead to terrible things happening, and, that that that by by poking fun at the writers, I was gonna going to set off a, era of people coming out and attacking riders on street corners at where they’d much you know, it’s Stranger things have happened in Hollywood.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:51

    I can, I yeah? I mean, I look. I who knows? You know, you never know what’s set off a crazy person. I will say that, if you’re if you’re looking for any one group of people to attack, the writers are probably not high, up on that list.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:03

    It’s, you know, just in terms of the the absolute power or lack thereof, yeah, but as you say we are writers, we understand. The sensitivity. I’ve had I’ve had people telling me all week that my I’ve been too hard on true detective Night Country, and that I’m wrong, and that my review was too harsh. And I have to say to those people, I’m the only one who’s ever right. How dare you question me on these things?
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:25

    I I will not take any notes on this. This is this is unacceptable.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:29

    That is the official opinion that, the the the world, world needs to adopt. It’s Alright. I I I I saw I saw that coming in episode one, by the way. So, Okay.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:43

    Okay. Did you did you well, no. We’re not gonna we’re not doing any more on night night country on the show. I don’t I’ve gotten enough. I’ve gotten enough.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:50

    So the, the, The the the reporters. How how do you how do you deal with reporters? What is it? What is your, what is your advice for folks who have who have to to interact with the ink stained wretches on a regular basis? Well, so
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:08

    we’re reporters are writers times times ten with with with sort of, ten times the attitude of of of of screen writers and ten times less powerful. So so with a a chip on their shoulder about it, In in Hollywood, it’s it’s this phenomenon of, of, the reporter’s stand just on the the outside of the most glamorous, exciting place in the world to be. But, of course, they have no part in that, and are not included. So It’s the the kind of desperate just to the peep people ask me sometimes, they they they want they’ll note the some especially fawning coverage of the industry and say, is this person being paid off? And I say, you don’t you don’t need to pay these people off.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:00

    It’s just like if a studio executive remembers their name, like, that is pretty much all the bribery that’s that that’s needed. And and just, acknow give giving them an acknowledgement that not an acknowledgement. A a sense that that their words have some importance and reverberate in the world is is pretty much what they want. And, Give them give them that and, and, and the doors will fly open.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:33

    I it’s funny. I was reading, Ed’s Wick’s new biography, his memoir, hits flops and other illusions. I wrote about it for for my newsletter. And it’s it’s really entertaining, and it’s fun. But, the the moment I realized that he had basically given up on ever making big movies again for mass audiences was he just comes out and says critics don’t matter.
  • Speaker 1
    0:13:53

    They don’t matter anymore. And you don’t say that if you’re ever expecting to have to really face them again because they Well, remember that. I did I can assure you. We have we have long memories. It’s it it happens.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:08

    Although, if I mean, the the the the one place where the critics don’t matter is the awards, sector there. It still makes a difference, but we saw this this very weekend, he could’ve he could’ve directed Marley Bob Marley won Love and which the critics, dismantled, and the audience, shrug up. So I I I I I think he’s, I I I think the critics are very powerful in one little sector still. But they they pretty much made themselves no offense present company excluded, of course. Irrelevant to the success of a film Everywhere outside of adult adult dramas.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:58

    Adult perceived dramas are like the one, the the last stand of critics there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:04

    No. That’s I mean, that’s I think that’s basically true. I think that is I I don’t think many critics would dispute. That, the critics are not terribly important anymore. But I I was actually curious.
  • Speaker 1
    0:15:17

    I wanna I wanna about this just a little bit because you had mentioned it in one of your recent newsletters, the the the the place of critics in, particularly in the world of festivals and that sort thing. What what is so what is the role of the the critic, the film critic, the film journalist, in the world of, of getting stuff made, getting people excited for stuff, getting movies out there and seeing that otherwise might not have been.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:49

    Well, it’s it’s it’s like this last redoubt is exactly how the best the the the the the that road that goes from festivals to the Academy Awards is sort of the the last piece of territory that critics control and that that that have an importance. And it’s, it’s tremendously important. It’s, coming out of festivals if a movie is panned and, you know, when when when a movie shows at Sundance, you have the people will search immediately and they’re You have the trades will put up reviews, but there’s also, you know, a hundred and fifty blogs that you’ve never heard of Will Saletan have critic there that that is posting reviews and everything. And if if the film is unanimously panned, that that that makes it very hard. For acquisition because the entire with with within this Prestige sector, if you don’t have that that that eighty plus rotten tomatoes score, it’s really hard to sell these films.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:50

    It’s really hard to sell these films in any circumstances, but your whole proposition is this is something you have to see. You smart, educated person, so if you have the critics saying, don’t bother, you’re it it’s pretty much taking taking that, that film out of contention there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:10

    And alright. So that I I I I I take that. I take that. The the the importance of the critical acclaim to getting stuff sold and bought and that sort of thing. But one thing you one thing specifically you had talked about is getting people excited.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:24

    Right? Like, so what what does when you when you are reading reviews, are they getting you excited? For the world of film more broadly, world of, or are they is it is it just all kind of stultifying and the same? And and boring. And I I’m I’m just curious what you think has shifted over the last ten, twenty years.
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:43

    I mean, the the thing I the thing I said in my column, is that You you know, when I when I was coming up as a young writer, if I had an opinion, the the the movie critics of the newspaper magazine where the journalists who had been on that beat a very long time and had studied it and they were authorized to give their opinions about movies. And if you were anyone other than them, this is pre internet, and you had an opinion about movies, you could tell your friends if you were really ambitious, you could raise get five hundred dollars to publish a Zeen and hand it out. Other than that, there is no venue for you to let the world know what you thought about this movie. Write a letter to the editor, maybe, was was the best you could hope for. Now everyone can be a film critic.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:35

    Everyone with a letterbox account is a is a is a film critic, but never has you so you would think a thousand flowers would bloom, and we’d have all sorts of arguments Ron DeSantis, and people would be then there’d be so much more diversity of opinion But what what we found is this sort of hardening of the the kind of official position. And it’s like never have you had more people holding forth about movies and never have fewer opinions been expressed.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:11

    Yeah. Yeah. No. I think that that is true. I mean, I I do god.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:16

    There there is just a a real consolidation of thought and thinking an opinion that is, unfortunate, I think. I think it’s it’s not
  • Speaker 2
    0:19:27

    There’s there’s not a tolerance of eccentric opinions anymore. There used to be people would, you know, the the the great critics would would go out on a limb about about something that they they would like something that everyone hated and that or or they would or they would hate something that everyone liked. And and and that was a regular thing. And there were people that came came at, came at it from all sorts of eccentric point of views. But now if you’re going to go out there and say that you hate, Oppenheimer, like, you’re, you know, You you you’re gonna have your journalist your, critical credentials, confiscated by by by the end of the week.
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:08

    Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s interesting. Anytime, you know, the subject of Richard Brody or Armond White comes up, there’s a lot of people who just instantly oh, well, those guys are just trari and so, you know, they’re just they’re just looking for attention. And that’s I I think that’s that is a that is an unfair shorthand for them But also just damaging for the world of film criticism in general. If you dismiss anybody who descends from a ninety percent fresh, movie as, oh, that guy’s just a contrarian, then what’s what’s the point of film criticism?
  • Speaker 1
    0:20:38

    Like, what is it? What is the actual point?
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:40

    Yeah. This idea that we’re supposed to settle into are not Ron DeSantis, but unanimity that this film is good, or This this film is terrible. And that that really that it’s a thumbs up or thumbs down, vote that it’s what matters instead of the argument make. And that that’s that’s kind of what we’ve lost. Also used to have these these feuds between Crede, Pauline, Kael, and Andrew Sarah Longwell people still, take sides on either faction of that few feud or not.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:11

    And you’d have you’d have the you’d have critics fighting with filmmakers and back and forth, and it was prison film criticism was exciting. It was that film was exciting, and this was where the conversation about it took place. And now it just feels more like the the critical establishment is going to hand down their official ruling. And you don’t even need to read the reviews. You just need to look at the score.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:36

    Like, okay. Nine ninety six percent.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:39

    Don’t Yeah. No. And and that and and that’s one hundred percent of rotten tomatoes effect. Right? I mean, it we’ve gone from having you read a Pauline Kale or somebody, or know, I don’t I don’t know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:21:50

    John Simon, and you’re like, well, I can agree or disagree with this whatever. And then now it’s just like, well, look at the number. Just Just look at the number. You don’t have to actually just what’s the number?
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:00

    That I I think it’s effective the, of social media also, just that it sort of creates this, this, mob mentality of, of, like, the the the loudest voice on any side becomes the official position and squashes any anyone who descends on on on their side. And I I I think it’s sort of the same effect that you see in politics, political discussion serving in criticism, like, This is our side, the critics, and, and we are not here to debate. We are here to, We’re here to rule where where this film stands and, and and, you know, how dare you, stray from the official position.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:48

    Yeah. I do think and the other aspect of social media, we’ll get off a second we’re going on to. But the the the other aspect of social media is I do think that artists, the filmmakers being on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etcetera, also has kind of a dampening effect on the discussion because, especially, I know I know some of them, like, to weigh in when they are, you know, get a particularly bad review and and and I I will say that you you see you see a hesitancy to really go hammer and tongue after certain people or certain movies just because you’re you you don’t wanna have to deal with either them or their fans or whatever coming at you after the fact.
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:26

    Yeah. I I mean, a a lot of them have have fan movements that are terrifying and will, you know, consider the cause of this direct director, you know, tantamount to to, a biblical crusade, And if you stray format will come under you, but, you know, but it’s also just when you’re chatting with when you get in the habit of chatting with people on on on, Twitter, they retweet you, and they record or like you, and you, maybe you even have DM conversations with them. It’s really hard to say that that person’s work is worthless. That it’s it it it it really Yeah. I mean, the the the social media has made Has has brought critics and and reporters too, into the lives of the people they cover, much more than they used to be.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:25

    Yeah. No. I I wrote I a few years back, I wrote a piece about how filmmakers should get off the internet just for everybody’s insanity. But that that’s not gonna happen.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:33

    So We should
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:34

    all Alright. We should all honestly, we should just nuke nuke the internet. We can go back to paper. Only communicate via paper?
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:43

    My my my zine, my I I have a a issue of a z my zine that was been in mothballs since nine since nineteen ninety eight that I’m ready to roll out so I can reactivate at any time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:24:57

    Get the Mimeo Graph machine going? Alright. So we’re, Oscar season. We’re we’re nearing the end of voting here, voting voting is about to to wrap up. When, what are
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:08

    another week. The precursors are coming in, and, it’s, The it it it it it is Oppenheimer, I would say, is as heavy a front runner as there has been, in, recent years, but the story of Oscar had, in in the last decade has been the front runner gets upset. So, It no one is if you had to bet, you would bet all your money that Oppenheimer’s gonna run away with it in terms of precursors and everything, but Since, I think it was since broad, brokeback mountain got upset there. You just you you you can’t count on that anymore.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:51

    Yeah. So I what what do we what what are the most likely upsets? Or because here here’s one that here’s one race that I have been kind of Fascinated by. I was certain Lily Gladstone had it in the bag for best actress for killers of the flower moon. It felt like that’s where everybody was.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:08

    But then Emma Stone for poor things, it it just racking up all the awards. And it just seems to be the favorite now.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:14

    People really like, poor things. And you you you you hear you hear that a lot. I mean, there’s a whole industry of writing about writing writing columns now based on overhearing one conversation in the lobby of screening, but, to the extent that that buzz is real. The buzz is that that poor things, is a movie people really enjoy, and they feel special about it. And they may, and Emma Stone’s performance, strikes them as courageous and bold, and they they people love courageous performances.
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:51

    Second only to doing celebrity impersonations, doing something courageous, like being ugly. Is, is is what people love. So they may wanna do that, or they may be feeling Oppenheimer’s gonna get the big thing. So we we need to get poor thing something, so so Amazon is an obvious place to go with that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:13

    Yeah. The the business of, Oscar season has always been very interesting to me because it is it is a a big period of revenue generation for you guys for other for other newsletters. Like, how does that how does that actually work? I mean, do you just, like, have an ad team out there soliciting the campaigns, like, and and in in terms of, percentage of revenue. I mean, is it are are you getting more from that than from subscriptions.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:41

    How does that actually work?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:42

    I I I don’t know if I meant Liberty revealed exact split, but I I Sure.
  • Speaker 1
    0:27:46

    Sure. Sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:47

    It’s it’s com I’ll I’ll say it’s comparable. At at the very least, but, the the yeah. We had we had when I when I was doing the Aclar on my own, it was just me sending out a, an email I I would get. You know, a couple of couple times a year, sort of inquiries saying, hey, will you will you run our ad? And I’d say, sure.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:08

    Here’s invented a rate that that sounds semi plausible. It’s it’s a great In the ad world, it’s a great place to be because it’s the only ad campaigns where traffic doesn’t matter at all. Like, it doesn’t it doesn’t matter how all that matters is there’s there’s what is there? Ten thousand members of the academy now? Seven thousand?
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:32

    Like, can’t forget is is how big a chunk
  • Speaker 1
    0:28:36

    of that
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:37

    of that ten thousand do you have? And if you can plausibly say If you if you’ve got a little website that the traffic is too small to even measure, but you can plausibly make the case that, a hundred members of the academy are even a hundred members of the academy. A hundred members of the of the the sci fi, guild. Are come to my site regularly. You can have yourself, awards campaigns, and it’s they’re it’s it’s I think the last estimate From a few years ago, was it was two hundred million dollars was spent on four year consideration advertising, so it’s a huge thing.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:15

    It’s what keeps keeps afloat all the all variety, how to report, or, deadline. All of those are are loaded on that with that two hundred million dollars. And we do we so we do have an add, an ad an ad seller now who goes out and, and and tries to get it. We, like many other people do these special blasts of we send our list, for your consideration Oppenheimer or Mhmm. Or or or what there may be, to to give people a look at it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:49

    They others host screenings. We we’ve done it done done some screenings, and it’s just everything to put, the message of this, of this campaign in front of as many of those ten thousand people as you can.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:07

    Yeah. Yeah. And it’s interesting. I I I’ve come around on this slightly. I used to I used to think this was like a real conflict of interest.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:15

    And, you know, I I I think you can make that case a little better with some of the Pensky ones who are also running, you know, the Golden Globes and But I also think it’s just it it really it it’s it’s you’re just putting it out there. It’s just like here’s Here’s the can’t here’s who’s running. Here’s the you know, here’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:33

    The great thing about advertising is that it’s transparent. Is that peep Right. People know. And if we’re taking a ton of ads from one from from one piece of it, if if we’re taking a ton of ads from poor things, and suddenly I start writing lots of columns about what a great movie, poor things is, people are free to draw their own conclusions, based based on that. But it’s transparent and And, you know, for us, and I think most of the people that do it, they they want to have as many of the contenders as possible on their site because you make more money off it, of course, but also it means, who are you biased towards?
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:15

    Every every candidate there. So I’d say there’s an institutional bias towards the entire Oscar industrial complex that comes out of this, which is a huge behemoth and monster that, you can argue is taking all the fun out of, entertainment, is a a plausible case to make, but it’s hard to And you you can say that people are are in general become nicer towards contenders overall. Than they would otherwise be. You know, I’m not a critic, so I don’t I don’t really write, like Right. About what movie I like or what performance I I like.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:54

    So it’s, it’s over. But but people can see who we take our the the money from, and they are if if they see our editorial Going one way or another, they’re they’re free to draw conclusions about that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:08

    Yeah. Speaking of behemoths, financial behemoths, It looks like we are nearing the end of one of them in the realm of the comic book movie, Matter Webb, the huge bomb, this comes on the heels of several other recent huge bombs. On the one hand. Yay. Everybody is tired of those.
  • Speaker 1
    0:32:29

    But on the other, like, what is coming next? I I I don’t know what’s gonna replace it. Yeah. I I
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:35

    I frankly don’t understand why people aren’t panicking more. People were sort of freaking out of the the this is this is the Fifth one in a row or something of of that that has underperformed. And everyone is a special circumstance, you know, is the This movie could fell off track and Kevin Feige didn’t have enough time to supervise this and everything, but at some point, you’ve gotta look at You have more superhero movies bombing than you do succeeding, which is certainly the case in the last year. That That’s that you have to that has to tell you something. And Hollywood has to a you’re responsible to mean, it’s it’s not too much to say.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:18

    Every studio except universal is completely mortgaged on their on to their their superhero brand. And if they’re if they’re superhero brand, whatever it is, and Paramounters, also, And if their superhero brand just failed, if they had a systemic failure at people at and the the world just said, nope. We’re not seeing that anymore. That’s a massive hole in in in there, and it’s not clear what, replaces it yet. It’s usually those things sorta So to die when a new thing is coming out, it’s, in the seventies as the as the Western Wayne, you had disaster films.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:02

    Became the new thing that we’re sweeping the world, but there’s nothing, really to replace it, except, I don’t know, musical biopics, I guess. There are.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:13

    Yeah. We need more. Well, well, we’ve got four Beatles movies coming.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:16

    Except that the the extended beetle verse is, of San Mendez is is is coming our way. Like, you think of all the ringo spin off characters that will that will occur in that movie. It’s it’s huge.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:32

    Yeah. No. It’s I mean, look, I I I have said a couple different places that I think Dune is gonna surprise people with just how much it makes because there’s been nothing. There’s been no other big, exciting movie, to coming out recently or on the horizon. So that that’s gonna be kind of a surprise here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:49

    Yeah. I mean Other than that, I don’t know.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:52

    I mean, you feel it with the with the durs of it. It was that that the Bob Marley film, which was not a love story in the in the least, managed to sell itself as a Valentine’s movie just because it had love in the title. But, Because because Hollywood just abandoned programming for Valentine’s Day. Just, and and and and so So the take over. I so I I yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:19

    Doing could really come along, but you’ve got Coming down, you’ve got a really lean schedule for the rest of the year. And then you’re looking, you know, looking beyond that. Paramount is up for sale, looking more like it’s up for a fire sale. So you have the real specter of we might have four four studios releasing theatrical films soon and releasing a lot fewer. We’re, you know, five year five five or so years ago, you had you had, seven studios each releasing twenty plus movies a year.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:58

    We may be having four studios that each release a dozen movies a year. That’s a that’s a giant falloff, and I believe in film, and I believe that the vacuum people will step into the vacuum and fill that up, but that doesn’t happen on a dime.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:15

    Yeah. Yeah. I, I the let me let me ask let me ask it this way. Have you heard, speaking of movies that have, did not did not get released theatrically and and may not. Have you heard any more on the Warner Brothers Koyote Zacme, batgirl situation.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:35

    I mean, I feel like the the backlash there has been so intense that they are kind of stymied. I like, they real they clearly really wanna just kill this thing. But also are, like, kind of afraid to do it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:46

    Yeah. I’d I I don’t have information specifically on on on coyote versus Zachary, but, I I I think that’s been in the in the Zazlaw era sort of the pattern that they go as far as they can into cost cutting and savings land as they possibly do and backtrack a bit when they get, when they get pushed back, and and I think you’re right that they’re just sorta they’re they’re just sorta hanging out there in the middle, waiting to see, waiting to see what they can, get away with.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:24

    Eventually, people will stop paying attention. That’s that’s the number one lesson of politics. And I assume we’ll trans transfer over to Hollywood as well.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:32

    If you’ve got some bad message, some some some things you’ve gotta do that will put out bad messaging, this year. You’ve got a you’ve got a four month block coming this fall where, Outside of politics, nobody’s gonna hear a word you say. So it’s a a great, a great season to bury any any stories that you want, coming up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:59

    Yeah. That’s for sure. Alright. That was that was pretty much everything I wanted to ask you to talk about. What what do you think folks should know what should I have asked, that that folks do not know about what is currently happening in Hollywood.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:14

    The, I I usually prepare for this one. The the the, you know, we we are lurching to the end of, of, of, the awards, period. And I I I think it it’s it’s a real question whether, that that this whole this whole awards juggernaut can survive and whether whether the The the golden globes went up from a very low place, so they went to they got they got all the way up from their their lease watch show ever to their third lease watch show ever. And, you know, I I I I think there’s there’s some sentiment with with in in this era cost cutting that many would like to just do away with this whole, with with with all this nonsense and certainly scale it back to him that’s And I mentioned the two hundred million that is being spent on the FYC. That’s two hundred million dollars you could save right there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:15

    So we’ll we’ll see whether, the Barbenheimer saves the saves the awards, circuit, which you know, as much as it is a beast and a juggernaut and, and completely tiresome and full of itself and pompous and everything else. It is also how adult movies basically are marketed. The the this way. And if there’s no award sector, a a lot of these movies are not gonna are there there’s there’s not a case to for releasing a lot of these movies. So, that is that is a little scary.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:59

    Yeah. Yeah. I I I’m very curious to see what next award season looks like because I do not see another Barbie Oppenheimer duopoly coming, this year. Just looking at the, release schedule.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:13

    The the I I I wonder if they’re gonna time their sequels Oppenheimer two in Barbie two, to come out on the same weekend again. That,
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:21

    and Gotta get I gotta get that, kernel patch biopic in the, in the whole thing. Alright. Thank you so much for being back on the show. Richard. I really appreciate it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:31

    Always a pleasure to have you on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:33

    Thanks for letting me come back. Great to be here.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:36

    Once again, my name is Sonny Bunch. I’m culture editor at the Bull Working. We’ll be back next week with another episode of the Bulwark goes to Hollywood. We’ll see you guys in.