For those of you who are not 'in the know,' it's a 30-minute show on AMC every (you guessed it) Sunday morning. The two hosts, Peter Guber and Peter Bart, are veterans in the film industry, Guber doing high-profile producing work and heading major studios and Bart is currently editor in chief of Variety. And every week, they have on a guest from "the business," sometimes stars on to talk about their movie, but more often studio execs or others in the industry with whom they discuss the current and changing trends in filmmaking.
The past two weeks, John Waters was the guest, which is always enjoyable. First, because he's hilarious. Second, because he's opinionated and not afraid to step on toes...he's blatantly honest. Third, because he loves film. He's passionate about everything that is, has been, and will be film. Fourth, he is entirely unpretentious in his tastes. The man made films like Pink Flamingos and Polyester for god's sake! (Google it.)
It's really excellent to hear people discussing film in intellectual and hypothetical ways and really just enjoying it.
Sunday's guest was Mark Cuban, an "American billionaire entrepreneur." He owns of the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, independent film studio Magnolia, Landmark Theatres chain, and HDNet, a high-def cable channel (the last three under the company heading of 2929 Entertainment). The guy has his hands in so many pies, it's crazy. But he's clearly good at what he does, and he has a genuine interest in media and entertainment. Oh, he also has his own weblog: http://www.blogmaverick.com/
This is all leading to a point, I swear.
There are many who claim that day-date* (or day-and-date, I suppose) releasing is going to be terrible, that theaters will cease to exist, yadda yadda. Who would go out when they can stay home?
Mark had an excellent response and one different from many that I've heard from proponents of day-date releasing.
Peter Guber: Wouldn't that also mean that someone not wanting to spend $10, $11, or $12 a ticket for four people will say, "I'm gonna have it imported directly to my home and I won't go to the theater"?
Mark Cuban: No, because those same four people are thinking "Get me away from my kids, I gotta get out of here!" You know, "I've got to go do something, get out of the house." No matter how good your TV is, no matter how high resolution the movie is, there's no cure for cabin fever.
He later says "movies are a social experience," which is the main argument I've heard for why day-date won't ruin the theater runs, but I thought the "cabin fever" response was interesting. I've found that during finals week, I eat more fast food, just because I need to take a 30 minute break every once in a while, and I may as well be productive and get nourishment while I'm at it. And when I go for a week without seeing a movie in a theater, I start to feel like I'm going to go crazy. I can understand the "cabin fever" argument, the wanting to get out and see a movie, the wanting to share that experience with other people just like you who are going to the same screening of the same film at the same time and place as you. Film is a powerful thing. It's wonderful and overwhelmingly egalitarian (though that isn't always positive) and it's changing and it's inventive. I love it.
Bottom line, Mark Cuban is just cool and even Peter Guber said that his "enthusiasm is infectious." And I wish my film classes were structured like "Sunday Morning Shootout." Stop teaching us history...I know the history. Start pushing us to think about current trends and the future. Let's have a discussion about internet marketing, or day-date releases, or the impact of digital video. Because knowing about French New Wave is not going to help you sell, write, produce, or market your film. But those other things might.
Ten Things You Didn't Know About Ferris Bueller's Day Off, from amctv.com
1. Most of the school scenes were shot at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois – the same high school John Hughes graduated from.
2. Alan Ruck, who played ‘Ferris’s’ best friend ‘Cameron,’ was 29 years old at the time.
3. Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett, who play ‘Ferris’s’ parents, got married in real life after meeting while making the film.
4. The pencil gag with Edie McClurg’s bubble hairdo was a last-minute inspiration. When McClurg arrived on set to shoot with her hair already done, Hughes asked her, “How many pencils do you think you can fit in that hairdo? Well, let’s just see.”
4. Only 100 of the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder were ever made – but Matthew Broderick never got to drive one. Because the real car is so valuable, the high cost of insurance forced the producers to find an alternative. They substituted three Spyder replicas, which consisted of molded fiberglass shells laid over Mustang frames.
5. Richard Edson, who plays the untrustworthy parking lot attendant, was the original drummer for Sonic Youth.
6. John Hughes isn’t a Chicago Cubs fan – he prefers the White Sox – but they weren’t playing day games at the time, so he had to compromise.
7. John Hughes used “Danke Schoen” repeatedly in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – but not because he liked it. “I remember this was the most awful song when I was growing up. Every time it came on, I just wanted to scream.”
8. When he was filming Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, John Hughes listened to The Beatles’ White Album every day of the 56-day shoot.
9. In the original script, Ferris went on the radio and talked about how he was going to be the first American teenager to go up in the Space Shuttle. A few months later, when the Challenger disaster occurred, the scene had to be cut.
10. Writer/director John Hughes wrote the script for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in less than a week.
Also, clips of "Sunday Morning Shootout" can be found on amctv.com, specifically here.
And finally, I support the whole "Idol Gives Back" thing. It's incredibly, really. And tomorrow's show promises to be jam-packed with excellent stars (including Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Helena Bonham Carter, Pink, and Daniel Radcliffe) and it's being hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Super sweet, check it out tomorrow night.
But really, Ryan Seacrest?
"The calls you make will not only save your favorite contestants, they will also save lives. This...is Idol Gives Back."
I know he doesn't write it, but melodramatic much?
*Day-date releasing is when a film is released simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, and pay-per-view. Steven Soderbergh's film Bubble is probably the most famous example (which was released under Cuban's Magnolia Pictures). An article about that can be found here: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/01/23/mark_cuban_to_theate.html